MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
A colorful stage and roaring cheers set the scene as Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band rocked the Two Rivers Theater at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, July 5.
The show, which drew more than 1,200 appreciative fans at the tail end of the long Independance Day weekend, was part of the band’s 70th tour with the United Service Organization. In total, they have performed more than 330 concerts worldwide in support of our nation’s defenders and their families.
“The objective was always to find a way to support our service members,” said Sinise, founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Lt. Dan Band. “I wanted to do that in multiple ways, to include visiting with service members and entertaining them. When we get support from the American people, they allow me to tour with the band all around the world.”
The band has traveled around the world to raise funds for severely wounded warriors in need, their families and all who serve.
“We do not want our veterans to fall through the cracks,” said Sinise. “Unfortunately, we have a lot of folks that do.”
The name of the Lt. Dan Band originated from one of Sinise’s many acting rolls. Sinise played a part in the award-winning 1994 film “Forrest Gump” as Army Lt. Dan Taylor, a Vietnam veteran who struggled to come to terms with survivor’s guilt and disfigurement during the war. Sinise said Lt. Dan is a character that has a relatable and impactful story.
“I think the story of Lt. Dan is a hopeful one,” said Sinise. “As a Vietnam veteran, he obviously went through a lot of familiar challenges that some of our service members are still going through today. Lt. Dan was in a lot of anguish after he lost his legs, but eventually he overcame his anger and dread to the point that he was able to stand again.”
This was the band’s first appearance at MCAS Cherry Point.
“Gary Sinise is such a huge supporter of the military and does so much for our service members,” said Beth McKenzie, marketing director with Marine Corps Community Services for MCAS Cherry Point. “People know who he is because he is a television star as well, so everybody is really excited that he is here to put on a great show.”
Sinise said he was very excited to be able to perform for the service members and families of MCAS Cherry Point, and it is heartwarming to know that there is something the band can do to shine a light on U.S. wounded veterans so they can receive the help they deserve.
“This is a dangerous world, and we have to have a strong defense,” said Sinise. “Young Americans sign up to defend our country every day, and since I benefit from their sacrifice, it is my duty to ensure that they know how appreciative we are.”