Books That Made a Difference to Gary Sinise
star, documentarian and Presidential Citizens Medal recipient recently launched the Gary Sinise Foundation
to honor the Nation's defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need.
Photo: Philip Friedman/Studio D
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Surviving Hell: A POW's Journey
Famous for portraying Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump, Gary Sinise has
established a foundation that, in addition to its own programs, provides
financial support to organizations supporting American troops. He’s
also joined with author Laura Hillenbrand on Operation International
Children and worked with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society,
through which he met Leo Thorsness, the Vietnam vet memoirist."The people who imprisoned Leo [in the infamous Hanoi Hilton] were brutal; they tortured him daily," says Sinise. "Yet his will got him through. At one point, to keep his mind active, Leo figured out how many steps it would take to walk the 10,000 miles home, and he started walking around his cell, counting them. How does someone survive one day in hell on Earth, let alone six years? When you read Leo's book, you can't help being humbled by what a human being can endure."
— As told to Naomi Barr