We Will Never Forget (Actor Gary Sinise has a message for veterans)

(The following excerpts are from an article published late last fall in AARP Magazine as told to Bill Newcott)
My brother-in-law Jack was a combat medic in Vietman. He’d heard the stories about returning soldiers being spit on and shouted at, and when he arrived back in the U.S., he was so fearful that he ducked into the airport men’s room, took off his uniform and changed into his civilian clothes.
Like a lot of kids, I wasn’t aware of what our Vietnam vets were going through. Years later, I met my wife’s family: Her brothers and sister had all served, and their stories woke me up to what they had endured not only overseas but here at home.
Then in 1980 I saw the play Tracers, which had been written by Vietnam veterans. I was profoundly moved, and I begged the guys to let me direct it in Chicago. For the hundreds of vets who came to our Veterans Night each Tuesday, it was a cathartic experience. I knew I had to become active helping veterans.
Since then, I’ve frequently visited wounded soldiers in military hospitals, performed for troops with my Lieutenant Dan Band, and become the spokesperson for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C. I also started the Gary Sinise Foundation, which supports active-duty service members and veterans. We build custom “smart homes” for our nation’s most severely injured heroes, offer help to soldiers and their families following trauma and loss, and provide meals for defenders during layovers at major airports.
While we can never show enough gratitude to veterans, we can always do a little more. If we expect future generations to volunteer to protect our liberties, we need to assure them that, when they return, they will be cared for. And most of all, appreciated.