Watch highlights from this remarkable journey on ABC's
"Countdown to the Oscars" February 27th at 8pm EST!
Together with our co-sponsors the USO and American Airlines, the Gary Sinise Foundation proudly presented Hollywood Salutes Heroes, a three-day adventure all over Los Angeles for our nation's wounded heroes!
Arriving from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Fort Belvoir and Naval Medical Center San Diego, these remarkable men and women were greeted with a hero's welcome at every turn. As part of our Invincible Spirit and Relief & Resiliency programs, we were able to treat our honored guests to a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Disneyland Resorts and Paramount Pictures with surprises and smiles all along the way.
On Sunday, February 2, Gary flew to Washington D.C. to attend a special Super Bowl Party at Walter Reed. The following day, he greeted our heroes at Reagan National Airport before joining them on their flight west -- Hollywood Salutes Heroes was officially underway!
Our heroes arriving at Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C.
Checked in and ready to go
Surrounded by red, white and blue balloons at Gate 30, Gary salutes our heroes as
they prepare to board their plane for California and lets them know they're in for some surprises
Captain Jim Palmersheim of American Airlines Veterans Initiatives welcomes our wounded
warriors at departure ceremony
From Gary's phone: Aboard American Airlines Yellow Ribbon Aircraft Flagship Freedom
Gary deplanes with our heroes. Welcome to California!
John Wayne Airport shows their gratitude by welcoming Hollywood Salutes Heroes
From the airport, our buses were provided a police escort to Disney's Grand Californian Hotel-
-where our heroes were greeted by Mickey & Minnie Mouse and the Disney marching band!
Our dedicated Gary Sinise Foundation team
Inside the hotel were even more Disneyland supporters of Hollywood Salutes Heroes!
For dinner, we rounded the corner to Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.
Another patriotic welcome by the restaurant's staff!
Wendy Finerman, producer of Forrest Gump and a supporting sponsor of Hollywood Salutes Heroes, welcomes the group.
"Lt. Dan! Ice cream!"
The next morning, we explored Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. It was a day full of memories, thrills and the wonders made possible only by the magic of Disney.
Disneyland hosted a very special flag retreat ceremony in honor of our heroes.
The following morning, our buses again made their way via police escort into the heart of Hollywood to a surprise location-
Gary welcomes the group to Paramount before these sliding doors open to reveal-
-An incredible welcome from the folks at Paramount Pictures!
The USC Marching Band lead the group to an al fresco lunch outside of the Paramount arch and theatre.
Katharine McPhee sings a beautiful rendition of The National Anthem.
Gary thanks Paramount Pictures, our sponsors, staff and his visiting celebrity friends before-
Group photo in front of the Paramount Archway
We then made our way inside the Paramount Theatre for a 20th anniversary screening of Forrest Gump
Wendy introduces some very special guests:
From Left: Eric Roth (screenwriter), Robert Zemeckis (director), Wendy Finerman (producer), Gary Sinise, Tom Hanks and Mykelti Williamson
After the movie, dinner was ready in the lobby with a staple of Southern Californian cuisine - burritos!
And many more of Gary's celebrity pals stopped by to offer their gratitude, sign autographs and snap a few photos.
It wouldn't be a Hollywood party without a swag bag.
Afterwards, we made our way to Paramount's New York Street backlot when KABOOM-
-confetti explodes overhead! Once more, the crowd cheers and applauds the heroes
marching before them.
At the end of New York street, a massive stage was waiting-
-the LT Dan Band steps forth to perform a surprise concert accompanied by a full pyrotechnics and fireworks display.
The LT Dan Band closes the show. Honor. Gratitude. Rock & Roll.
After three incredible days together, Gary says goodbye to the warriors
So many memories were made. We will cherish them always.
An American Airlines Yellow Ribbon aircraft departs LAX with full water canon salute as our heroes head back to DC. A wonderful trip for them, and for all of us.
For more photos from this remarkable adventure, be sure to check out the Gary Sinise Foundation's Facebook Page.
Hollywood Salutes Heroes was a remarkable success thanks to the incredible generosity of our sponsors. On behalf of so many grateful heroes, we offer them our sincerest thank you.
Air Power Foundation
Bubba Gump Shrimp Company