Actor and veteran advocate Gary Sinise shared some poignant details about his friendship with a special Army amputee during a recent Fox interview ahead of Memorial Day. While talking of his foundation, which helps build homes for wounded or special needs veterans, Sinise said his friendship with one such “inspiration” means the world to him.
“Bryan [Anderson] is somebody I met several years ago — gosh, over 15 years ago,” Sinise began. “He sustained his injuries in 2005. He’s a triple-amputee, missing two legs and an arm. We’re both from Illinois, so we kind of connected at Walter Reed when I first met Bryan. After I started my foundation we became friends and he became an ambassador for my foundation.”
Sinise, who credits his role as Lieutenant Dan in the hit movie Forrest Gump for introducing him to the world of military veterans, said in the interview that he’s building Anderson a home in Tennessee.
“Recently we held what we call a Walls of Honor ceremony. It’s kind of the midway point in our home-building process. Bryan is going to have a new home sometime around Veterans Day in Tennessee. We’re building his house in Tennessee,” Sinise explained. “So he’s one of our many recipients of these rise homes that we’re building. And I’m just very, very grateful to have him as a friend and to have also known him. He’s been an inspiration. I write about him in my book, and I was privileged to write the foreword to the book that he wrote called No Turning Back. He’s a wonderful guy.”
Gary Sinise’s foundation likes to honor all sorts of military stories, like that of actor and veteran Jimmy Stewart
Back in April, the Gary Sinise Foundation wrote up a touching tribute to one of the country’s most prominent war heroes, actor Jimmy Stewart.
“One of my all time favorite actors and a great American,” Sinise also wrote. “Jimmy Stewart was simply always worth watching, so many great performances. Thank you Mr Stewart for years of entertaining us and for your service to our country.”
Jimmy Stewart’s patriotic enrollment during the height of his career would likely never happen in today’s world. Even at the time, Hollywood studios wondered why a rising star like Stewart would risk everything he had accomplished to fight in a foreign war. Stewart’s answer underscores a sense of honor and duty that simply does not largely exist today in American culture.
“This country’s conscience is bigger than all the studios in Hollywood put together,” Stewart said at the time. “And the time will come when we’ll have to fight.”
Stewart was eventually appointed commander of the 703rd squadron after some difficulties finding his place in the service as a famous actor. The honor didn’t come without a cost, though. As Robert Matzen, author of Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe, wrote, the actor then suffered from intense PTSD, which society called “flak-happy” at the time.
“The war had changed Jim down to the molecular level,” Matzen wrote. “He could never begin to articulate what those four-and-a-half years, including fifteen months in combat, had done to him. One thing he could do was express a bit of it on-screen.”