Klavan On The Culture

A Film for the Fourth

Here’s something cool for the long weekend.  On July 4th, you can go here and watch the touching documentary Lt. Dan Band:  For the Common Good.   It follows CSI: NY star Gary Sinise – who played Lieutenant Dan in the movie Forrest Gump – as he and his band entertain our servicemen at home and in the war zones.  I’ve seen the film – directed by my pal Jonathan Flora – and it really is very moving, a tribute to a Hollywood actor who’s also a patriot and a dude.  Yes, there are still some of them left.

When I was at Fort Bragg researching a story for City Journal, I was sitting in a Humvee eating an MRE when one of the soldiers poked his head in the open door and said, “Hey, you’re from Hollywood, right?”  I admitted this was more or less the case, whereupon maybe half a dozen guys surrounded the vehicle as the first man asked, “Who likes us?”  What he meant was:  which Hollywood stars did not have their heads so far up their own fundaments that they were able to appreciate the fact that they lived, worked and took drugs by virtue of the brave men and women who were willing to fight and die to protect them.

For a moment, I froze.  I couldn’t think of a single name.  Then it came to me and, with enormous relief, I said, “Gary Sinise.”  At which every single soldier surrounding the Humvee nodded gravely and murmured with great solemnity, “Lieutenant Dan.”

They love him and he deserves it and this film tells why.  Excellent fare for the fourth.  Oh, and it costs $3.99 and one dollar in four goes to support the Gary Sinise Foundation which “honors our nations defenders by supporting the USO, Operation International Children, Snowball Express, and other such charities and efforts that support the military, first responders and their families.”  Good deal.