Actor Gary Sinise revealed a touching account of his meeting with a Pearl Harbor veteran in a Wednesday Newsmax interview.
The actor was speaking on the 81st anniversary of the attack that brought America into World War II — recounting his experiences at a Hawaii event commemorating the attack’s 75th anniversary in 2016.
Sinise recounted meeting a wheelchair-bound veteran at that anniversary event, thanking him for his service.
“I reached down to him, and I grabbed his hand, and I said, ‘Thank you, sir, for all you have done for our country,’” Sinise said of his interaction with the American hero.
The man went on to show the humility and selflessness that many Americans associate with the heroes of the “greatest generation.”
“And he looked up at me with tears in his eyes and he just goes, ‘I wish I could have done more.’”
Sinise is known in great part for his role in “Forrest Gump,” a movie in which he portrays a soldier in the Vietnam War who is disabled in combat.
Sinise’s portrayal of “Lieutenant Dan” resonated with many, forging bonds between the actor and generations of American veterans.
As a result of the experience, the actor went on to found the Gary Sinise Foundation, an organization that supports America’s veterans through a variety of charitable programs.
Sinise pointed to his foundation’s work in memorializing the accounts of World War II veterans as they slowly fade from the midst of the living.
“At the Gary Sinise Foundation, we’re doing everything we can to record their stories as much as possible at the National World War II Museum and to allow as many of them as possible to get down there to see the museum for themselves,” the actor and veteran supporter said, according to Newsmax.
The living ranks of both Pearl Harbor and World War II veterans have thinned over the last decade, with many of the surviving veterans well into their 100s.
Only two former sailors who were on board the battleship USS Arizona were still alive as of December 2021.
Nearly half of the casualties of the surprise Japanese attack were inflicted upon the crew of the vessel.
December 7, 1941. Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor kills 2,403, including 1,177 aboard the USS Arizona. Never forget the bravery and the sacrifice, 81 years ago today. pic.twitter.com/AcWocHvBqq
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) December 7, 2022
Avenging the dastardly attack on the part of Japan became a rallying cry for Americans in World War II, ultimately overcoming Japan in a four-year war.