Ever since playing Lt. Dan — the character in the movie “Forrest Gump” who lost his legs fighting in Vietnam — actor Gary Sinise has devoted time and treasure to helping the nation’s military personnel and first responders.

This week he returned to South Carolina’s Lowcountry, where much of the 1994 film was shot, for the second annual Lt. Dan Weekend, a gathering of military personnel and vets who were severely wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Volunteers raise donations so the vets have a chance to get away. Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band scheduled a benefit concert on the Beaufort waterfront Friday night.

“We have a lot of folks who are banged up out there and need our help,” said Sinise, the star of “CSI-New York,” during a Thursday reception for the 65 wounded personnel, their caregivers and families attending the four-day weekend. “I always remember this great Calvin Coolidge quote that the nation that forgets its heroes will itself be forgotten.”

Source: Bruce Smith for the Associated Press.

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