March Air Reserve Base, Calif. --
Actor/bass player Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band played a free concert Saturday, April 28, for Team March members, their families, veterans, and special guests at the March Field Air Museum as part of the Gary Sinise Foundation's (GSF) program to raise spirits and awareness for military and first responder causes worldwide.
Before the concert, Sinise and his team took time to tour the historic base, stopping by the base gym where, 77 years ago, Bob Hope performed his first USO show for the troops there, said Maj. Gen. Randall Ogden, commander, Headquarters Fourth Air Force.
“I can’t think of anyone else besides Gary Sinise who carries on that legacy,” Ogden said. “Nobody is more committed and cares more about our military members, their families, wounded warriors, and Gold Star families. I really want to thank Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band,” Ogden said. “No one has a greater heart for Airmen than Gary Sinise and his team.”
To alleviate parking congestion, March Air Reserve Base provided bus transportation for military members from the base to the venue shortly before the start of the concert, and just in time for concertgoers to visit the food trucks and other vendors for a pre-concert meal outside the museum’s side door. Many families arrived separately to meet their military members, and a few lucky veterans visiting the museum were invited to stay for the concert.
Surrounded by static, military aircraft from years gone by, audience members got up-close-and-personal, at the front of the stage, when Sinise encouraged everyone to move in and gather around as the concert began. Singers and musicians performed continually for two hours with a backdrop of military aircraft taking off from March Field’s runway, none of which drowned out the concert, but made for spectacular photo opportunities.
Sinise and his band ended the concert with Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.,” inspiring audience members to lock arms in solidarity and sway back and forth while singing the chorus.
For more than a decade, Sinise and his band have toured the globe in support of our troops.
“I’ve been involved with the military for many, many years and have a lot of veterans in my family. It’s a calling, a mission, to try to do something positive to support and back you up,” Sinise said. “This is a dangerous world and you’ve been working very, very hard. We appreciate everything you’ve been doing to defend our country and our freedom, and the freedom of the world. So thank you to all our military and all our military families.”
A Sinise quote on the foundation’s website (www.garysinisefoundation.org) reminds us that we can all do a little: “Freedom and security are precious gifts that we, as Americans, should never take for granted. We must do all we can to extend our hand in times of need to those who willingly sacrifice each day to provide that freedom and security. While we can never do enough to show gratitude to our nation's defenders, we can always do a little more.”