‘I Never Could Have Predicted’: Gary Sinise on Forrest Gump 25 Years Later

By Tiffany Meier

On the 25th anniversary of “Forrest Gump,” Gary Sinise said that his role in the film as Lieutenant Dan Taylor helped create a bond with the U.S. military, something he could not have anticipated.

“25 years ago Forrest Gump opened in theaters. Lt Dan Taylor will always be a fav & special role. Not only was it an honor to act alongside some incredible talent, working on a great script directed by Robert Zemeckis, but the character itself helped forge a bond w/ our military that I never could have predicted,” Sinise wrote on Twitter on July 6.

“Thanks 2 the fans who continue 2 celebrate Forrest Gump & Vietnam Veteran Lt Dan Taylor, & thanks 2 our military & defenders, 4 your continued embrace & friendship after all these years. It’s an honor to serve you at Gary Sinise Foundation,” he added.

Sinise starred opposite Tom Hanks in the 1994 film “Forrest Gump,” where he played Lieutenant Dan Taylor. His portrayal of his character earned him an Oscar nomination, according to IMDb.

Sinise has been an advocate of members of the U.S. military for nearly 40 years.

He began in the early 80s with his support for Vietnam veterans groups, according to his biography. Throughout the 90s, Sinise worked on behalf of the Disabled American Veterans organizations.

Gary Sinise is onstage
Host Gary Sinise onstage at the 25th National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, DC, on May 25, 2014. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capitol Concerts)

In 2003, he also embarked on several United Service Organizations (USO) handshake tours. The following year, he formed the Lt. Dan Band and began entertaining troops serving abroad and at home. Since then, the band has performed close to 30 shows a year for military bases, charities, and fundraisers supporting wounded heroes.

In 2011, he established the Gary Sinise Foundation. According to its website, its mission is “to serve and honor our nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs that entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities.”

In February, politician and retired general Colin Powell, several famous actors, and many veterans who have benefited from Sinise’s charities over the years showed their gratitude in a surprise tribute video.

“Completely shocked and speechless by this surprise video,” Gary Sinise wrote on Facebook. “Incredibly touched and grateful by everyone’s support. I’m crying, so choked up, I thought I’d share.”

A few of the stars who participated in the video include Steve Buscemi, Tim Allen, Robert De Niro, Maria Shriver, Jay Leno, and Patricia Heaton.

“Your commitment, your dedication, you are awesome,” Ron Howard, director of “Apollo 13,” said in the video.

“Thank you for all the things you have done for our men and women who have served our nation,” retired four-star general and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said. “Not only what you’ve done for them but for their children, what you’ve done for their families, what you’ve done to help them rebuild their lives.”

“Forrest Gump” co-star Tom Hanks ended the video with a smile and a nod to the Sinise’s iconic role in the film.

“Thanks, Lieutenant Dan!” Hanks said.