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Actor Gary Sinise Rocks for Navy Yard Employees

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Sinise and his band performed at DAR Constitution Hall.
WAMU/Elliott Francis
Sinise and his band performed at DAR Constitution Hall.

It's been nearly three months since the tragic shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, and last night one of Hollywood's most beloved actors brought music to Washington to lift the spirits of Navy Yard employees and their families.

In 1994, actor Gary Sinise's portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor in the Oscar-winning film Forrest Gump formed an immediate and enduring bond with U.S. servicemen and women. Ten years later, Sinise created the  Lt. Dan Band, a nimble pop rock cover group that entertains troop serving here in the U.S. and abroad. Sinise, the band's bassist, says it was just hours after the shooting three months ago when he called his contacts at the USO with an idea.

"Because I wanted to offer to do something like a healing concert, a support concert, something where we could come to the Navy Yard to show support and help the employees through that tragedy," he says.

Last night's concert held at DAR Constitution Hall was originally planned for October 24 but was postponed due to the government shutdown.

"And so we had to cancel that. But when the shutdown was over I called up and said how about this date, December 3? Let's try and move it to an indoor venue. It's just important that the Navy Yard folks are remembered for what they're going through," he says.

John Pray, executive vice president of the USO, says many Navy Yard employees and their families at the concert were still healing.

"Generally speaking, they're doing well. I think it's one of the tributes to the American people is that we are a resilient group and in the face of tragedy we all come together and bond and heal and move on," he says.

More than 2,000 members civilian employees and their families attended last night's concert.

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