Gary Sinise, A Really Good Guy
By Russ Vaughn
With the exceptions of Bob Hope and Martha Raye, there may be no other American entertainer who has served our armed forces more. That person is Gary Sinise, actor, director, producer writer, musician, a bit of a down home, foot-shuffling, aw-shucks guy from the Midwest who has probably spent as much time in war zones as many members of our over-worked military, and certainly more than any Member of Congress. Sinise is one of those rare humans who is easy to sum up in quick terms: a really good guy. Or if you wish to add accolades as I’m sure many in the military would: a really damned good guy, among many other unpublishable terms of praise.
The role Sinise played in Forrest Gump, that of Lieutenant Dan Taylor, an embittered, double-amputee veteran of Vietnam, made him, whether he wanted it to or not, forever a part of the military and veteran community. He wasn’t necessarily a hero, but simply someone with whom they could identify and find some hope and cause in their lives, through his spot-on depiction of the despair and resurrection of a horribly wounded veteran in a horribly wounded cause.