The crowd was roaring as Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band entered the stage for their first-ever visit to Fort Huachuca to “rock the house” for the troops and their Families Sunday on Warrior/Sentinel Field.
Sinise and the 11-member band delivered a show-stopping performance despite their busy weekend spent performing in two other states prior to the event here Sunday.
“This is always energizing,” Sinise said. “It’s always great to be able to play for our military. We do this all over the world, and we can never do it enough.”
The Lt. Dan Band is celebrating their 10th year together and has participated in 60 USO tours and more than 150 USO events. They have performed in numerous locations around the world to include Germany, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands and Afghanistan.
“Our military does so much all over the world to provide freedom for all Americans and every freedom-loving country out there,” Sinise said. “We are our freedom providers, and we don’t take that for granted. That is why we come out here and try to make a difference, support and build your morale up, give you a good time and show you some gratitude. You deserve it.”
Sinise recognized the Gold Star Families in attendance and asked the crowd to give them a round of applause and thank them for their sacrifices. Gold Star Families are those which have one or more Family members who died while in service.
In 2010, Sinise founded the Gary Sinise Foundation, an organization dedicated to serving the nation by honoring defenders, veterans, first responders and those in need.
Sinise explained that his connection with the service men and women throughout the military community stems from his Family’s deep roots in the military and his portrayal of Lt. Dan in the 1994 film, “Forrest Gump.”
“I have military in my Family, and I have great respect for them,” Sinise said. “After Sept. 11, I just volunteered to go out and do what I can to support our active duty folks. Over the years, I have just done more and more. There has been a great need for keeping our military strong in a dozen years of war here. I’m just trying to pitch in and do my bit to help out with them.”
The band entertained with a two-hour set, playing a variety of music genres, from Adele to Journey to Zac Brown Band. Many of the songs were intended for a military-related audience with a wide variety of tastes.
As the band finished their set, Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, presented Sinise and his fellow band members with a miniature statue of a Buffalo Soldier in commemoration of their visit to the installation.
The band closed out the concert by playing the song, “Proud to be an American,” and members of the crowd sang along.