I feel the need to flesh out a little more about the Presidential Medal of Freedom and why I believe it should be awarded to a leading American actor and activist.
The medal, bestowed by the president of the United States, goes to those individuals have delivered “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
I already have made a pitch for Gary Sinise, an actor of considerable note, as well as a fervent activist for military veterans and active-duty personnel. Sinise hasn’t yet been awarded with the nation’s highest civilian honor. He deserves it … in spades!
Sinise has become veterans’ most outspoken and visible champion. He embodies the sea change that has swept over the country in the past quarter-century or so, or about the time that our troops swept Iraqi forces out of Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War.
Do you remember how veterans were treated after the Vietnam War? I do. I was one of them. I didn’t get spit on. Or cursed. I did receive an indifferent response from those who learned I had served for a time in Vietnam.
That all changed about the time of the Gulf War.
Gary Sinise has become a visible and outspoken advocate for veterans over the course of many years. He has raised money for families of veterans, helped raise awareness of PTSD and other combat-related disorders. He has lent his good name to fundraisers. He has hosted public TV broadcasts of patriotic salutes.
My goodness, this man has contributed greatly to the cultural development of this great country, as explained in the Medal of Freedom criteria listed at the top of this blog post.
My message now goes directly to Donald Trump: Mr. President, if you can see fit to honor a professional golfer who won the Masters tournament — which you did when you hung the Medal of Freedom around Tiger Woods’ neck — surely you can do the same for an artist who has made veterans awareness part of his life.