• Gary Sinise: Role as Lt. Dan continues to resonate and impact the lives of veterans

    Politics Confidential

    Actor Gary Sinise has starred in his share of films of television shows, but there’s one role that still follows him nearly 20 years later: Lt. Dan.

    Sinise, a longtime advocate for veterans’ interests, says his role as a double-amputee Vietnam War veteran in the iconic movie “Forrest Gump” changed his life forever. In addition to the instant stardom that followed, he says it “began a relationship with our disabled veterans and our wounded veterans.”

    “I realized from the get-go that that particular character had been seen by so many people within the military community that it meant something to them,” Sinise tells Politics Confidential. “That particular character is bigger than a movie really.”

    Though his interest in helping veterans began long before his role as Lt. Dan, Sinise says it has allowed him to make a remarkable connection with the military community. He tells the story of the first time he visited a military hospital: “I started walking by them and

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  • Damaged but not defeated: The story of two wounded warriors overcoming their injuries

    On the Radar

    Memorial Day is a time when the country pauses to remember those in the military who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the country. It’s also a reminder of the soldiers who have come back from war alive but wounded in irreversible ways.

    Lt. Jason Pak and Lt. Eric Zastoupil, both graduates of the West Point Military Academy, are among over 1,500 soldiers who have lost limbs fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this special Memorial Day edition of On the Radar follows their journeys of recovery.

    Pak was on patrol in southern Afghanistan when the unexpected happened.

    "I stepped on a mound and I just blew up,” Pak told On the Radar, “and then the next thing you know, my guys were rendering first aid."

    The former West Point soccer player lost both of his legs and two fingers that day. Zastoupil similarly fell victim to an IED explosion Afghanistan, losing his left leg. While both soldiers faced challenging recoveries following their injuries, neither lost their

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  • Scout’s Honor? Gay rights advocate seeks to overturn ban on gay Boy Scouts

    Top Line

    As the Boy Scouts of America prepares to vote tomorrow on a proposal that would change its long-standing policy of excluding gay boys from Scout units, the executive director of Scouts for Equality, a gay rights advocacy group, is hopeful that the proposal will pass--but says this is just the first step.

    “This is a good step in the right direction, we want youth protection throughout the entire program, and it looks we'll be able to see that on the 23rd,” executive director Zach Wahls tells Top Line. “But after that, we have to make sure that we are telling Scouts that when you turn 18 you are still welcome in the program.”

    The proposal up for vote will not change the BSA's policy of banning gay adult leaders. To Wahls, changing that policy is not just political, it's personal.

    “As the straight Eagle Scout son of a lesbian couple, I know exactly how important lifting the ban on adults is," he says. "I got to see first-hand when I was growing up in Iowa the impact that great,

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