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Medals of Heart and Soul: Gary Sinese's Rally to Support Our Troops
Have you ever wondered what goes through the minds of our soldiers? What it must be like for them to be put into harm’s way and place their lives on the line for our freedoms and liberties? It comes with a heavy price..sometimes as far as costing their lives. Despite knowing these risks, they are willing to pay that price! They do it for the safety of their friends, family, and country…asking nothing in return.
On January 8, 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that actor Gary Sinese had intended to address the Temucula City Council in California on Tuesday of that week. He planned to propose holding a benefit concert to raise funds for a Marine who served in Afghanistan. In his plan, Sinese explained the funds from the charity concert would be used to build a home for the wounded veteran. It would be 3700 square feet and built as a “smart home”, which is designed to meet the needs of amputees.
Lance Cpl. Juan Dominguez, now 27, lost both his legs and one arm during a conflict in Sangin. According to the LA Times, Dominguez is also a father of a nine year old girl.
On January 10, KCAL 9 local news had reported that the council voted unanimously to approve the concert. The concert is now slated for March 1.
Gary Sinese will be performing with the Lt Dan Band, which he formed with electric guitarist Kimo Williams after playing a few jam sessions with him in the late ‘90’s. In 2003, the Lt Dan Band had traveled overseas playing shows for the USO. In 2010, Gary Sinese had formed the Gary Sinese Foundation, which has been dedicated to support active and military members by providing entertainment and building communities. He cited his deep family roots with the military along with the contributions made to the 9-11 victims by supporting groups as his motivation to form this organization.
More details about the Lt Dan Band can be found by clicking the link below, which features the trailer of their documentary:
Back in 1994, one of my favorite movies, Forrest Gump, hit the theaters.
It gave so many examples of the ways of how we could offer a simple act of kindness to any and all people...and how much that kindness can mean to someone who's lost all hope.
Many of us remember Sinese as Lt. Dan, who developed a hatred of God after losing his legs in the Vietnam War. However, through all his troubles and drunken episodes, Forrest was always by his side…just as he was during the War.
Forrest not only saved Lt. Dan’s life during the conflict, but also saved his humanity. Forrest did not offer him salvation, nor money, nor empty promises…just a simple presence. It was something Lt. Dan had taken for granted…until in time he realized that Forrest had given him a reason to believe in faith, in love, and in himself once again.
The message of love and faith carried on with Gary Sinese over the years and in his actions has shown the world how we can do the same for the ones who fight for our lives.
It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to go overseas and put your own safety on the line for the benefits of others. I’ve never served in the military, but I’ve known a few people who have and I've heard them say that it is a tremendous reward to fight for their country and for the people they love.
However, it can also be a thankless job. The conditions for the soldiers are usually not pleasant. They carry a heavy load of equipment wherever they go. They have little time for sleep. They train their bodies to the point where they feel like they are about to break under the pressure. They deal with so much negative coverage and public protests for fulfilling what they consider their sacred duty to their country. Worst of all, they always wonder when that one fatal bullet will hit them or their friends in combat.
Even if they do survive, what kind of life will they have to look forward to when they return home? How many military service people will end up like Lance Cpl. Dominguez, who is now severely limited to how he can provide for his daughter? How many others will end up losing the experience and joy of walking on their own two feet again?
Why do they do it? Is it simply for our own protection? It’s a lot more than that. They fight for the freedoms of all people in every society in the world. They want everyone to enjoy the best things that life has to offer like warm clothing, good food, and meaningful friendships. They do it to serve as an example for all of us on how we should treat each other. They show us the value of offering help to those who desperately need it.
War does involve taking sides and we may be on one side or another or both. In fact, I’d venture to say that most, if not all people, don’t like war at all. So many lives are lost and so much brutality occurs on the field. We want to avoid it altogether, but for whatever reason war is inevitable in one circumstance or another. Even if you don’t agree with the cause, we should never turn our back on our fighting men and women. They would never turn their back on us.
They do what they do because they have a love for humanity and for the belief that all humanity has a right and a chance to live a good life. They deal with so many hardships to make this goal a reality.
I feel like that we need to consider doing the same for these incredible men and women. Not everyone can be trained to handle the tasks and trials like that of our service fighters, but there’s still much we can do to show our support for them. There are numerous organizations like that of Sinese who provide financial support for militaries and their families, especially when personnel are called upon to serve their duty. We can even use programs like Support Our Troops, which provides listings of items that troop members ask for during their service such as sunscreen for the ones serving in Afghanistan. This program also enables people to send the service members special thank you cards and well wishes cards. A few kind words from us can mean the world to them.
When Gary Sinese was given a video interview by KCAL9 news about this project, he remarked:
“We can’t build homes for each and every one of them right now, but we can chip away at it.”
When you find some way to show even one solider how proud you are of them, you giving them the greatest gift that any solider could ask: You are giving them a reason to smile again.