April 30, 2009
Posted: 06:03 PM ET
**Note: Talented Actor & Director Gary Sinise contributed this LKL Web exclusive commentary. Although he's unlikely to admit it, Gary's a hero, and he's helping keep our military heroes morale high. Gary reminds us that during these troubled economic times at home, it's important to not forget the members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving miles away from family & friends.
I believe supporting our veterans and active duty service members is very important. Like many, I was devastated by what happened to our country on September 11, 2001 and I wanted to do something to help. I began going overseas with the USO in June of 2003. It was my first trip to Iraq and a tremendously humbling experience.
To be around so many extraordinary people serving our country made me feel proud. Here they were in a desert thousands of miles away from home in 140 degree heat and they were thanking me for being there. I kept telling them thanks but I was there to thank them. I will never forget walking into an airplane hangar at the Baghdad airport (formerly Saddam International) and seeing almost 7,000 troops packed in and ready for a USO show. Wow!
After that June 2003 trip, I did not stop. I was hooked.
3 weeks after returning from that trip I visited our troops in Italy and spent the 4th of July with them. In August I visited our troops in Germany and made my first of many trips to Landstuhl Medical Center. The next month, September, I went to Ft Stewart Georgia and then up to Washington DC to visit the wounded at Walter Reed and Bethesda for the first time.
Filed under: Larry King Live
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