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Gary Sinise with Ben Shapiro: ‘I Just Could Not Sit By and Do Nothing’ After 9/11

Michael Morris
By Michael Morris | February 13, 2019 | 12:03 PM EST

Actor Gary Sinise on Ben Shapiro's "Sunday Special Ep 37" (Screenshot)

Actor Gary Sinise, best known for his roles in the films “Of Mice and Men” and “Forest Gump”  and his starring role in the TV series “CSI: NY,” and also known for his foundation the Gary Sinise Foundation, appeared on Ben Shapiro’s “Sunday Special Ep 37” this past Sunday, Sinise discussing his new book “Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service” and his involvement with wounded warriors, admitting, “I just could not sit by and do nothing” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

“Then along comes September 11th, and we deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and our guys started, and gals – you know – our folks started getting hurt, started getting killed,” stated Gary Sinise. “And I was just, I just could not sit by and do nothing. You know, that was just such a devastating attack on our country, and now we were deploying in reaction to that.”

Gary Sinise’s remarks came in response to a question from Ben Shapiro, who asked, “What changed your perspective about playing [the character] Lieutenant Dan [in the film ‘Forest Gump’]?” Sinise detailed how he “very much wanted to play” the part of Lieutenant Dan, based on his experience helping Vietnam veterans, specifically in his wife’s family, and then suggested the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks were being treated in the media a lot like Vietnam.

Below is a transcript of Gary Sinise’s comments from Ben Shapiro’s “Sunday Special Ep 37”:

 “Then along comes September 11th, and we deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and our guys started, and gals – you know – our folks started getting hurt, started getting killed. And I was just, I just could not sit by and do nothing. You know, that was just such a devastating attack on our country, and now we were deploying in reaction to that.

“And it also became a kind of divisive time because, as you recall, during the Iraq war, after we went into Iraq in 2003, then in 2004, 5, 6, 7, things started getting worse there. There was an insurgency. There was Abu Ghraib. There was all these things. During those years, you could just see it. I mean, what was happening, and the coverage of it, was very similar to what was, what had happened in the Vietnam War – ‘things were just not going well.

“And, you know, I just pictured our guys over there thinking, ‘Gosh, things are not going well, and I’m sitting right here. They’re saying it on the news every night.’ And I didn’t want our folks deploying in reaction to that terrible event, people that were signing up because of those airplanes going into those buildings, I didn’t want them to feel that they were being neglected or that the country was going to turn its back on them or something.

“And it was a divided time, if you recall. Some people supported George Bush and the efforts to go into Iraq and Afghanistan. Some people didn’t, and it was, it was being, it was a very divided time. And I wanted to help. You know, I wanted to help our service members get through it. So—

“And, you know, just personally – and I say this in the book – my heart was just broken after that terrible day. It was broken, and I needed to do something to help heal that. And I felt, having been involved with Vietnam veterans, wounded veterans through the D.A.V. [Disabled American Veterans] in the ’80s and ’90s, my role now would be to support the active duty folks that were responding to that attack.”


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