FORT STEWART — Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division and their families crowded in the Newman Fitness Center gymnasium Sunday to enjoy a free concert by Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.
The event was moved indoors due to rain and was delayed by an hour, but that didn’t keep families from filling the gym to near capacity.
Sinise, the actor, director and musician most known for his roles as Lt. Dan Taylor in the movie “Forrest Gump” and Detective Mac Taylor on the CBS television series “CSI: New York,” remarked that this is the third time that the band has played on Fort Stewart.
“We’ve had a good time playing here a couple of times before and we’re glad to be back,” he said. “Sorry for the weather, but the show must go on, we’re right here in the gym and just glad we have a good place to play.”
Sinise said he is an avid supporter of military charities and creating his own charity, the Gary Sinise Foundation was a natural extension of his charitable work. The foundation provides the Lt. Dan Band so that organizations such as the USO can provide shows to military communities for free.
He said the foundation is his way of giving back to the men and women in uniform.
The audience featured many Gold Star families, the term for those with a service member who was killed in action. Supporting Gold Star families is something that Sinise said is very important to him.
“Life goes on for everybody, but for them they never stop missing their loved one, and if we can help them through that…make sure that they know that we care about them, that we’re grateful, and that we appreciate their sacrifices and that we don’t take it for granted,” he said. “If we can grieve right along with them, maybe that can help them — they deserve it.”
The event was sponsored by the USO and made possible through funding from the Gary Sinise Foundation, said Major Gen. John M. Murray, commanding general for the 3rd ID.
Murray introduced Sinise to the crowd, remarking that Sinise has more than 90 awards and accolades for his work supporting service members, families and especially Gold Star families.
“I believe that Gary Sinise is truly this generations’ Bob Hope,” Murray exclaimed as the audience erupted in cheers and applause.
At the top of the show, Sinise motioned to the crowd to fill in the front area by the stage and fans ran from the bleachers to the front. The cover band entertained the crowd for nearly two hours and played a mix of classic and contemporary rock, as well as pop.
The mix of hits from Bruce Springsteen, The Who and even Bruno Mars kept many of the concert goers on their feet and dancing.
Throughout the show, Sinise gave shout-outs to the troops and families thanking them for their service that were met with cheers from the crowd.
He and the band made special note of all the Gold Star Families in attendance. The band played “Hero” by Mariah Carey in their honor, and Sinise remarked that they are his heroes.
Read more in the April 9 edition of the News.