It is physically impossible for me to say the words “Lieutenant Dan” without adopting my best Forrest Gump accent (which isn’t very good) and bellowing “LOOOUUU-TINNNIT DAY-ANNN!!” Sometimes, if I’m feeling particularly reminiscent, I’ll even follow the shout with my rendition of what it sounds like when a shrimp boat crashes into a dock. Luckily that has only happened in familiar company, so the response is usually to join in or have eyes rolled at me knowingly.
“Forrest Gump” is a movie that became a cultural icon almost the second that it came out, and its ties to South Carolina are strong and true. A good chunk of the film’s poignant and weightily beautiful scenes were made in Colleton
County and Beaufort
, the beautiful seaside town that helps define the Lowcountry
. Each of the movie’s characters are so memorable that they have become a part of the American cultural psyche in many ways, but the character of Lt. Dan, played by Gary Sinise, evokes an additionally special sentiment — that of the price paid and the debt owed to soldiers who return from war with terrible injuries to their bodies and souls.
In 2007 a group of combat veterans came together to create the Independence Fund
, which raises money to “…provide the tools, therapies, and guidance that are not otherwise being provided…” to injured veterans of the War on Terror. For the past four years Gary Sinise and his band, aptly named “The Lt. Dan Band
,” has partnered with the organization in one of its signature events, Lt. Dan Week
This year the event will be stretched out into a week of activities, from Sept. 9-15. Sinise will join organizers for a fifth time to show support for injured veterans. The Lt. Dan Band is scheduled to play Sept. 14. Entertainment for Fri., Sept. 13 has not yet been set, but advance, discounted tickets for the weekend, including Sinise’s band, are on sale now for $25 at LDW4.org. The price will increase June 1, so now is the time to buy. For more information about the organization that is responsible for Lt. Dan Week, please visit click here.