by: SARAH HOBERMAN and LAUREN EFFRON via GOOD MORNING AMERICA Updated:
LOS ANGELES - It's been 20 years since "Forrest Gump" took its place in motion picture history. And since its release, the story about the incredible journey of an innocent everyman with a low I.Q., has inspired actor Gary Sinise to take an unexpected journey of his own.
Sinise played Forrest Gump's gruff commanding officer Lt. Dan Taylor, a role for which he was Oscar-nominated. In the film, Lt. Dan loses both legs fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. Sinise embraced the role then, and still does today, making it his mission to help disabled veterans and their families.
"There's something different about this part," he told "Good Morning America" anchor Josh Elliot in an interview for the ABC special, "Countdown to the Oscars." "I've walked into so many hospital rooms and they look at me and they think I know what they're going through."
After years of service to veterans in honor of his own family, he formed the Gary Sinise Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money for veteran initiatives.
"I just couldn't not do anything," Sinise said. "I've seen a lot of need and I've become very committed to [being] somebody who can try to make a difference."
This month, Sinise decided to take 50 servicemen and women from Walter Reed Bethesda, Fort Belvoir in Virginia, and Naval Medical Center San Diego on a three day, all-expenses paid trip to where it all began for Lt. Dan -- Hollywood.
Through his efforts, Sinise flew the soldiers on a private charter plane provided by American Airlines, and then the group was given a police escort through Los Angeles.