Memorial Day, a federal holiday each year, is Monday, May 30, 2022, this year — and it's a special time set aside to honor the men and women who died in service to America.
Gary Sinise, the award-winning actor, humanitarian and founder of the nonprofit Gary Sinise Foundation, is serving again this year as honorary grand marshal of the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., which takes place on Memorial Day itself.
Some 5,000 participants are expected to parade down Constitution Avenue before a crowd of 250,000 people on Monday, according to the American Veterans Center in Arlington, Virginia.
Sinise shared personal and deeply felt thoughts with Fox News Digital about how "incredibly important" it is to show support for America's military and their families today.
"Memorial Day has been a longstanding tradition of remembrance for me and my family," Sinise told Fox News Digital just ahead of the holiday weekend.
"It's incredibly important to honor the families of the fallen." — Gary Sinise to Fox News Digital
"As a nation, it’s incredibly important to honor the families of the fallen — the heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting and defending our country," he said.
He also said, "Through my many travels, visiting combat zones, our wounded in the hospitals and especially spending time with our precious families of our fallen heroes — it has become a personal life mission to honor and remember those who selflessly serve and sacrifice so much."
"We’re here for them before, during and after the battle."
Added Sinise, "That is one of the many reasons why I created the Gary Sinise Foundation, because I want all our defender communities, our veterans, service members, first responders and their families who sacrifice alongside them to always know that there are grateful Americans who love and appreciate them."
He said, "And we’re here for them before, during and after the battle."
"When I think about my participation in this year’s Memorial Day Parade, the first parade since before the pandemic, one simple word comes to mind. Gratitude."
"I am grateful," he went on, "for the opportunity to honor our fallen. I am grateful to support the families of our fallen heroes."
"And I am grateful for every day that I have — to continue paying it forward to these brave men and women and ensuring that their memory and legacy of service to our country will never be forgotten," said Sinise.
"I am grateful to support the families of our fallen heroes."
The Gary Sinise Foundation, established over 10 years ago by Sinise — who for nearly 40 years has been active in his commitment to veterans, first responders and defenders — announced in April that it was moving its headquarters from Los Angeles, California, to Nashville, Tennessee.
The move "complements its chapters on both coasts in San Diego, California, and Orlando, Florida," the organization said in late April.
It "will allow the foundation to expand its reach and service to more veterans, defenders, heroes and first responders who sacrifice so much."
The foundation noted that some 430,000 veterans live in Tennessee today.
"Tennessee and the neighboring states are in proximity to numerous active military installations and facilities."
"In addition, Tennessee and the neighboring states are in proximity to numerous active military installations and facilities. The move to Nashville will facilitate even more engagement with local communities, including first responders and other heroes, around the United States," the group shared with Fox News Digital.
Sinise said in that announcement that moving to Nashville "was a family decision. After 35 years in California, I began thinking about the possibility of relocating."
"With so many friends in the area, a great entertainment industry and its central location, I concluded it would be an exciting change for our family."
"Naturally," he added, "the Gary Sinise Foundation will move as well."
The move is expected to be finished by summer.
Through its R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment) program in Tennessee, the foundation has built smart homes for severely wounded heroes, including most recently for a Clarksville Tennessee Army veteran.
The group has also lent support to "numerous events for those who served in the Nashville area."
Sinise, an award-winning actor of stage, TV and film, earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017.
His awards include a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Tony Award and four Screen Actors Guild Awards.
He was also nominated in 1995 for an Academy Award (for his portrayal of Lieutenant Dan Taylor in "Forrest Gump"). He's received many honors and awards for his humanitarian work and his connection to charitable activities.
Sinise's 2019 best-selling memoir, "Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service," revealed how a young "rough-around-the-edges" kid from Illinois "found his calling to ensure that our country’s defenders are never forgotten," as his foundation noted.