Gary Sinise a Busy, Busy Patriotic Star Memorial Day Weekend

It’s going to be hectic time for Gary Sinise next week in Washington, D.C., when the “CSI: NY” star headlines back-to-back events.  On the 26th, he and his Lt. Dan Band will perform as part of the Rolling Thunder XXV motorcycle run festivities, by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

“Then I’ll leave right from there, race over and rehearse for the Memorial Day Concert the next day,” he tells us.  “This will be my seventh year in a row doing the National Memorial Day Concert.”  Sinise cohosts the concert Sunday, May 27 with Joe Mantegna.  Sharing the bill are an eclectic lineup including Colin Powell, Dennis Franz, Ellen Burstyn, Natalie Cole, Selma Blair, Trace Adkins and  “American Idol” finalist — and maybe winner — Jessica Sanchez. (Check your local PBS station for air times.)

Sinise has a full calendar of Lt. Dan Band dates this summer — before he goes back to work on “CSI: NY.”  Talk about an eleventh hour reprieve.  Up until last weekend, Sinise didn’t know whether the show would continue into a ninth season or be cancelled.  Last Friday night’s season finale, in which his Mac Taylor character had a near-death experience, was designed to work either as a season-ender that opens up new territory for stories next year — or as goodbye.

“I thought the writers did a good job with that,” he says.   Since it was a “reflective episode, there were a lot of wonderful scenes between my character and all the principle characters on the show” — including Mac’s new girlfriend, Megan Dodds.

Sinise had made it clear he wanted to go on with “CSI: NY,” and that the writers feel they have a lot more to say.  Viewers can look forward to Mac opening up his personal life, now that he has finally been able to let go of the anguish of losing his wife in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Asked whether he’ll be involved in endorsing or campaigning on behalf of any candidate this election year, Sinise says, “I stay away from all that.”  Though he is known to have strong political views privately, he takes a nonpartisan posture in deference to his ongoing, tireless charitable activities.  His Gary Sinise Foundation to benefit military service members in 2010 is the latest.

“We’re out there all the time,” he notes.  “We have to remember, each and every day should be Memorial Day when it comes to supporting and acknowledging those who fight for our freedom.”