“The lessons and leadership example of President Lincoln have never been more important to our country, and our responsibility is to do all we can to ensure those lessons are understood and shared,” said Erin Carlson Mast, the ALPLF’s new President and CEO. “President Lincoln cared deeply about the troops, and there are few people today who care more – and do more – for our men and women in uniform and their families than Gary Sinise,” said Sergio (“Satch”) Pecori, chairman of the ALPLF Board of Directors.
In his acceptance speech, Sinise spoke of how Lincoln has served as an unceasing inspiration in his life. “I am deeply grateful to be honored among the distinguished individuals who have received the Lincoln Leadership Prize,” said Sinise. “I support the important work that the Foundation, Library, and Museum are doing, and am pleased to play a small role in helping to raise awareness of their shared mission.” Lincoln’s legacy obviously left an indelible impact on so many aspects of Sinise’s life. Indeed, in the program video (linked here), when Sinise provided a tour of his office, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much memorabilia and various paintings of Lincoln he surrounded himself with on a daily basis.
Sinise also saluted all the veterans tuning into the event for their service to the country. “As long as I live, I will never forget the cost of freedom,” said Sinise. “I will work hard on behalf of our defenders and try to be worthy of this special honor. May god bless you all, and all those who are still serving in harm’s way, and may god continue to bless and watch over our America.”
Past recipients of the Lincoln Leadership Prize have included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin, astronaut James A. Lovell Jr., former Polish President Lech Wałęsa, The Little Rock Nine, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, The Carlyle Group’s Co-Founder/Co-Executive Chairman David M. Rubenstein and the late television journalist Tim Russert.