New: ‘CSI’s Gary Sinise Hosted ‘Heroic’ 105th Birthday for the Oldest Living Pearl Harbor Survivor

“CSI: NY” and “Forrest Gump” actor Gary Sinise hosted a special 105th birthday for Joseph Eskenazi, the oldest living Pearl Harbor survivor.
Gary did it after his veteran uncle’s ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ.
In his youth, he decided it was his duty to help veterans after a childhood with his grandpa and uncle.
While Gary Sinise might be best known for his roles in “CSI: NY” and “Forrest Gump,” he will now be recognized for his selfless act for one of the oldest survivors of the Pearl Harbor tragedy.

Sinise has recently extended his kindness to Joseph Eskenazi, the oldest living survivor of the Pearl Harbor ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ. He celebrated his 105th birthday this year, and Sinise threw him a beautiful celebration, which has been labeled as “heroic.”

Eskenazi said he knew they would be ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋed and remembered the ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ like it happened yesterday. He said he survived being shot at and a bomb landing near him, and he is lucky to be alive.

81 years after the ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ, Eskenazi and other veterans were aboard a train traveling from L.A. to New Orleans. On the trip, they visited the World War 2 museum and celebrated Eskenazi’s 105th birthday.

When asked on the trip what his advice to younger generations in the world would be, Eskenazi said:

“Enjoy life as much as you can. The good Lord gave you life so you could make the best of it, and that’s what you should do with it.”

He also said that he was honored by the manner he was touching because he couldn’t believe the amount of attention he received on the special occasion. He also expressed his gratitude.

Joseph Eskanazi celebrating his 105th birthday with Gary Sinise and other veterans in 2023 | Source: youtube.com/fox11

Joseph Eskanazi celebrating his 105th birthday with Gary Sinise and other veterans in 2023 | Source: youtube.com/fox11

Talking about his situation, he said that being so close to the bomb was frightening, but luckily for him, the bomb did not detonate. He said that he felt fortunate to be alive and to be recognized for his service.

The Real Reason Sinise Hosted Eskenazi’s 105th Birthday

While the trip for Eskenazi and other veterans was appreciated by them and all who saw it, there is a particular reason why Sinise decided to extend his hand to these men and celebrate them.

Gary Sinise, Moira Sinise and family attend the ceremony honoring Sinise with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on April 17, 2017 in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images

Gary Sinise, Moira Sinise and family attend the ceremony honoring Sinise with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on April 17, 2017 in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images

Sinise’s uncle was a WWII veteran, who Sinise often celebrated and sent to the WWII museum. Sadly, Sinise’s uncle passed away in 2014, leaving him with nobody to cherish with these acts.

He shared that his uncle had recorded a video that his family still enjoyed, and he believed that every family should have a video like it to remember their WWII veteran family members, who are their heroes by.

Sinise reached out to the museum and said he would support their program by sponsoring historians who were able to go out and record these videos of WWII veterans for their families to enjoy later and to be preserved at the museum.

Gary Sinise attends the USO's Road 2 Recovery on October 4, 2008 at the Wadsworth Theater Parking Lot in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Gary Sinise attends the USO’s Road 2 Recovery on October 4, 2008 at the Wadsworth Theater Parking Lot in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

He then contacted American Airlines and asked that they help get as many WWII heroes to New Orleans as possible. They called the organization “Soaring Valor,” and Sinise said he traveled with hundreds of the men.

Sinise talked about being proud that he was able to honor veterans in a way that recognized the service they had given the country. He said being able to do that for them was important for him and felt like it was his duty to do so because of his relatives.

Why Does Sinise Believe It’s His Duty To Help Veterans?

In his book, “Grateful American,” Sinise said that he was born at Saint Francis Hospital in Blue Island. He mentioned that his birth came just over a week before his father got an honorable discharge from the navy.

Portrait of Gary Sinise on June 3, 1985 | Source: Getty Images

Portrait of Gary Sinise on June 3, 1985 | Source: Getty Images

Sinise said that his grandfather and his uncle, who were in WWI and WWII, respectively, hardly spoke about their experience there, and it was only later in his life that he understood what they faced during their years in the war.

Sinise’s grandfather, who he affectionately called Grandpa Dan, joined the army in 1917 to fight in WWI. By the time he was 18, he was on the front lines in France. Sinise talked about his grandfather, saying:

“My grandpa Dan was a south-side man — a big-framed, tough Italian guy who’d been through war and worked for the railroad. Not a cuddly grandpa at all. He was never mean. He was just tough. And a little scary.”

Gary Sinise portraits on the set of television show CSI:NY, September 1, 2004 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Gary Sinise portraits on the set of television show CSI:NY, September 1, 2004 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Sinise revealed that his Uncle Jerry was more open to discussing his experience in the second world war than his Grandpa Dan was to discuss the first. However, he noticed there were things that his uncle wasn’t willing to discuss with him.

He said that while his uncle told him some of the things he had been through, there were many more horrific experienced he had had while in the army that he didn’t want his young nephew to know about.

Sinise talked about his grandfather’s final days on earth, saying that his grandfather became extremely emotional when he saw him and his father as he lay in his hospital bed at the end of his life.

Gary Sinise (R) talks with a WWII veteran backstage at the 25th National Memorial Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol, West Lawn on May 25, 2014 in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

Gary Sinise (R) talks with a WWII veteran backstage at the 25th National Memorial Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol, West Lawn on May 25, 2014 in Washington, DC | Source: Getty Images

He recalled going to see his grandfather, who burst into tears upon seeing him and when thinking of the event, Sinise said:

“I saw Grandpa Dan bedridden, a thin sheet covering his chest, his once-strong body dressed only in a gown.”

It was then that Sinise knew that he had to fight for veterans’ rights and support them in a way that they supported the country. He talked about his feelings on the matter, saying he wanted to dedicate his time to helping them.

Gary Sinese and wife Moira Sinese at Gary Sinise's Star Ceremony On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame on April 17, 2017 in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images

Gary Sinese and wife Moira Sinese at Gary Sinise’s Star Ceremony On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame on April 17, 2017 in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images

Sinise and his wife of 42 years, Moira Sinise, run the Gary Sinise Foundation for veterans together. The organization was founded in 2011, and Sinsie said:

“Today, my foundation has become a rallying point for people everywhere who want to serve, support, and honor [veterans.].”

Talking about his wife and the longevity of their marriage, Sinise shared that the secret is having a sense of humor. He said his wife has a beautiful personality and makes him laugh daily.

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