Gary Sinise - A True American Patriot

Gary Sinise is one of the rare Hollywood stars these days willing to give back to the nation by showing his support for the troops.

On Thursday, he sat down with substitute host Laura Ingraham on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor" to discuss a new documentary chronicling his tremendously patriotic efforts (video follows with transcript and commentary):

LAURA INGRAHAM: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, Hollywood star Gary Sinise has devoted enormous amounts of money and time to help servicemen and their families around the world. If he isn't raising money for injured war vets and 9/11 responders, he and his band are performing for the troops stationed in the Middle East and around the world.

Now he's starting a foundation to continue his work. And kicking it all off with a documentary about his band's good deeds. I spoke to Gary yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARGARET HOOVER, CO-HOST, "CO-HOST, TRUTV'S, "In Session.": So, Gary, July 4, the Gary Sinise Foundation launches. Tell us about it.

GARY SINISE, FOUNDER, GARY SINISE FOUNDATION: Well, thanks for having me on, Laura. Gary Sinise Foundation. I started because I've been so involved in doing all kinds of things on multiple fronts in support of our troops, our first responders, veterans, their families. We have children of the fallen wounded warriors. There's so many things I'm involved in right now. And I kind of got to the point where I thought, "Well, I'm either going to pull back or ramp it up. And how do I ramp it up when I'm already spread so thin?"

So I decided to start the foundation, in order to point people in the right direction with regards to organizations that I'm already supporting, that are doing good work out there in support of our troops. And also, to be able to guide some resources and take in some additional resources so that we can continue to create programs -- creating programs and supporting programs that are doing good things for our warriors out there.

INGRAHAM: What is the Web site address for it?

SINISE: GarySiniseFoundation.org.

INGRAHAM: It's easier to remember. First, I think a lot of people don't how. How did the Lieutenant Dan Band start? Can you just briefly tell us that story again? Because that propels us into the documentary.

SINISE: Right. And the documentary is called "Lieutenant Dan Band for the Common Good. I have a band. Part of my mission to support our warriors and first responders and folks like that is to take my band around and kind of lift the morale, play some concerts to either raise money or just to raise morale.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SINISE: Everybody on your feet! Let's go. Everybody on your feet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SINISE: When I started going on USO tours, I would shake hands and take pictures. I asked them if I could take some musicians with me. They said OK. The troops always called me Lieutenant Dan, so I just went with that and said, "Let's call it Lieutenant Dan Band."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: Lieutenant Dan, what are you doing here?

SINISE: Thought I'd try out my sea legs.

HANKS: You ain't got no legs, Lieutenant Dan.

SINISE: Yes, I know that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SINISE: And then a friend of mine, a documentary filmmaker, asked if he could document some of the -- some of the trips I was making. So he followed me around with a camera crew for about 18 months. I took him to various events and military bases that I visited. Took him to Iraq.

And he ended up with, you know, hundreds of thousands of feet of footage. And put this beautiful documentary together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As soon as you walked out, he walked down off the stage. He wanted the children to come up. He knew it was for the kids.

SINISE: They've had a pretty rough go of it, losing a parent in the war.

We want to make sure they leave feeling better than when they walked in. OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

INGRAHAM: Gary, I know you've done 400 concerts, which I'm trying to get my mind around. Four hundred concerts around the world. Is that accurate?

SINISE: That might be an exaggeration. There's hundreds, certainly hundreds of concerts. I don't know if it's that many. But we've been nonstop.

You know, I'm on television every week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SINISE: Where is he?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SINISE: I'm shooting my show five days a week. And then I'll get on a plane and go out. On the weekends we go to bases all around this country. This year we're doing 16 USO shows.

INGRAHAM: Wow.

SINISE: That's just for the USO. And then we go out and we do charity concerts for military organizations. So probably play about 40 shows a year.

INGRAHAM: And Gary, I think there are a couple of people who I know personally, who when they go on a military base, they spend time with the troops, the troops all gravitate towards them.

Obviously, it's always going to be the commander in chief. But you and Ollie North, the two of you. I mean, you guys are like -- I just want to follow you guys around, because then I'll get the great treatment at the bases, too.

Because you mention your name. And I just get -- I go to Camp Pendleton. I'm a friend of Sinise's; I get in.

I go to Fort Hood, I'm a friend of Sinise's. It just -- you just totally paved the way. I thank you. I thank you on behalf of all the O'Reilly "Factor" viewers. You carry the load for a lot of people, I think, in the entertainment industry. I know you get some help from your friends in the entertainment industry. But I think a lot of us wish there were a lot more people like you who have your platform, your face, your voice and your identity. It think this means a lot to people. It's a great inspiration.

SINISE: Thank you so much, Laura. Look, I've been blessed. I know where freedom comes from. A lot of people are sacrificing for it. We all remember what happened to our Vietnam veterans when they came home from war. We don't want that to happen again.

You know, if we're going to have volunteers go in service to our country and go into dangerous places, we have to take care of them before the battle, during the battle and after the battle.

INGRAHAM: Hey, Gary, great to see you, as always. Have a wonderful Independence Day. And I can't wait to see the Lieutenant Dan Band and the documentary. And also just the band, really soon. I can't wait to see you.

SINISE: Thanks so much, Laura.

INGRAHAM: You can watch the film online at LieutenantDanBandMovie.com. It's going to be available for one month starting July 4. The cost is four bucks, and one out of every four dollars goes to the Gary Sinise Foundation to support military causes.

From all of us at NewsBusters, thanks Gary, and God bless you!

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.