While the lovable, rough-around-the-edges character of Lt. Dan Taylor may only exist in “Forest Gump,” his story lives on in Gary Sinise, the actor who played him in the film more than 20 years ago.
Sinise now fronts the rock group Lt. Dan Band, which headlines a concert every year during the annual Lt. Dan Weekend. The two-day event is back in the Lowcountry for its sixth year this weekend, thanks to the Independence Fund. The nonprofit volunteer organization is dedicated to raising “awareness for the issues facing our most severely wounded veterans, as well as raising funds to directly support the organizations participating in the events.”
Through its fundraising efforts, wounded veterans and their caretakers from other parts of the country are able to visit Charleston to take part in the festivities.
The highlight of the weekend is the concert at 7 p.m. Friday at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center featuring national artists such as KOA, Johnny Lang and the Lt. Dan Band, which takes the stage from 8:30-10 p.m.
The next day, at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, there’s an Independence Bike Ride that starts and ends at the Charleston Area Convention Center. Wounded veterans will use various adaptive mobility cycles to participate in the ride with an estimated crowd of about 600.
Afterwards, there’s a Health and Wellness Expo from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the North Charleston Convention Center to showcase mobility assistance equipment companies and their products, as well as other businesses and organizations that provide services to veterans.
When: Various times Friday and Saturday
Where: North Charleston Performing Arts Center and Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Dr., North Charleston
Price: All events are free
More info: (888) 851-7996. www.ldw6.org.