Honoring vets in the 2018 Rose Parade with USMC, GM Gary Sinise, Purple Heart: Photos

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The four entries leading off the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1 formed a group tribute to veterans of United States military service: USMC Mounted Color Guard, USMC West Coast Composite Band, Grand Marshal Gary Sinise, and the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs float. The float, “Sacrifice to Serve,” was co-sponsored by the Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A., Inc. to honor recipients of the Purple Heart, which is awarded to service members who were injured in battle.

The color guard is a fixture at the front of the Rose Parade. Headquartered at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Barstow, Calif., it is the last remaining US Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard. The Marines ride rescued wild mustangs, adopted through the Bureau of Land Management’s Adopt a Horse program. GySgt Carlton Esswein is the Staff NCO in charge of the unit; MCLB Barstow commanding officer is Col. Sekou Karega and the base sergeant major is SgtMaj Sergio MartinezRuiz.

Small but mighty, the USMC West Coast Composite Band plays the Marine’s Hymn and other march favorites. For 2018, the band was comprised of Marine Band San Diego, First Marine Division Band, and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band led by drum major GySgt Hugh Wurts. CWO3 Christian Flores, Band Officer and MGySgt Brian Paradis, Bandmaster, direct the band. All band members are fully combat trained, and many have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Grand Marshal Gary Sinise has worked with veterans’ organizations for decades and established the Gary Sinise Foundation to better serve them. His work fits well with the parade theme “Making a Difference.” Sinise was thrilled to be chosen as the Rose Parade Grand Marshal, because he grew up watching the parade and realizes the honor and reach of this annual tradition.

The 1919 Dodge Brothers automobile that carried him and his wife, Moira Harris, was the car driven by Jimmy Stewart (himself a WWII veteran) in It’s a Wonderful Life and is used by owners Keith and Marilyn Smith to raise money for veteran groups. The movie was the holiday entertainment of choice for the family of Tournament of Roses Pres. Lance Tibbet, so the car is special to him, as well.

The Rose Examiner has posted several articles about Gary Sinise and the car:

Gary Sinise, humanitarian and actor, is Grand Marshal for 2018 Rose Parade

Photo gallery: Tournament of Roses 2018 Grand Marshal Gary Sinise

Grand Marshal Gary Sinise tries out his Rose Parade ride

“Sacrifice to Serve,” the 69th Rose Parade entry for Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Rose Float, Inc., won the Director Award for most outstanding artistic design and floral presentation. It was designed by Michelle Lofthouse and built by Phoenix Decorating Company. The float used 158,320 roses and other flowers, as well as a large variety of dry materials. Pampas and buffalo grasses, palm bark and palm bark fiber, and hand-cut corn husk feathers covered the imposing eagle. The purple heart at the front was created with dark blue iris, yellow and white mums, gold clover and flax seed, and fine-cut yellow strawflower. Floragraphs used onion powder, poppy seed, rice, ground split pea, strawflower, statice, walnut shell, and coffee.

All photos copyright 2018 by LB Monteros.


2019 Rose Parade



The Rose Parade is a grand and glorious pageant, viewed by an estimated 80 million people around the world. It’s also a small-town parade, with the Queen and Court chosen from local young women and six of the 45 or so floats self-built by local cities and a university. Most of the equestrian units come from the Southwest, but the bands come from all over the world.


Where to get tickets and parking for the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade

There is no such thing as the Rose BOWL Parade!


General Information

Rose Parade trophies get an update for 2018

Rose Parade 2019 events: Buy tickets for Bandfest, Equestfest, Decorating Places, Showcase of Floats

Documentary ‘Float’ chronicles Burbank’s entry from concept to Colorado Blvd.

Building Rose Parade floats: The tools of the trade

Put flowers on a float! Some tips


Marching bands chosen to play ‘The Melody of Life’ in the 2019 Rose Parade



2019 Tournament of Roses



The 2019 Tournament of Roses in photos and stories

With bands from all over the world marching in the 130th Rose Parade and performing at Bandfest, “America’s New Year Celebration” promises to live up to the theme “The Melody of Life.” The days before and after the parade and 105th Rose Bowl Game are filled with things to do for people of all ages and abilities. Locals and visitors can attend Bandfest, Equestfest, Decorating Places, Showcase of Floats, and Live on Green

The big events, of course, are the parade and game, held on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. The Rose parade is a two-hour extravaganza of flower-covered floats, cars carrying Tournament of Roses celebrities, marching bands, and equestrian units. The Rose Bowl Game pits top football teams in “The Granddaddy of Them All,” the oldest post-season collegiate bowl game.

Whether you watch online, on television, or live in Pasadena, The Rose Examiner will keep you informed. This page will be updated as new articles are added. Subscribe for free by filling out the box at the top of the left column, and be sure to bookmark this page and return to it frequently! You can also follow “All Things Rose Parade” on Facebook.

Poster courtesy of Pasadena Tournament of Roses

General Information

There is no such thing as the Rose BOWL Parade!

Will it rain on my Rose Parade? The rules: No Sundays, water themes, or Supreme Court Justices equals no rain

What’s in a nickname? How Pasadena California is known to locals and the world

Tournament of Roses News & Events

Make a real difference with Real Change meters

Rose Parade

Information, floats, marching bands, and equestrians

The 2019 Royal Court  Articles will be posted beginning in late August

Articles & albums about the Tournament of Roses Royal Court

Rose Bowl Game  Articles will be posted as information is released

Information, events, people

Special Events

Tickets for the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade on sale now

Rose Parade 2019 events: Buy tickets for Bandfest, Equestfest, Decorating Places, Showcase of Floats

Tournament House open for public tours through August

Celebrities & Sponsors

Tournament of Roses Pres. Gerald Freeny sings ‘The Melody of Life’

Gerald Freeny elected Tournament of Roses president; theme is ‘The Melody of Life’

Tournament of Roses announces executive committee for 2018-2019

Helpful Links

Tournament of Roses

Tournament of Roses Parade Day Guide

Visit Pasadena Rose Parade spectator guide

Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau

Rose Bowl Stadium

Visit Pasadena Rose Bowl Game spectator guide

Rose Parade official tours at PrimeSport

Rose Bowl Game official tours at PrimeSport
















Singpoli American BD ‘Rising Above’ wins Sweepstakes award at 2018 Rose Parade

by Laura Berthold Monteros

With a story of transformation, the 2018 Singpoli American BD float “Rising Above” won the Sweepstakes award at the 129th Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, 2018. The float was designed by Charles Meier and built by Paradiso Parade Floats. It is Meier’s and Singpoli’s second Sweepstakes award, which is given for the “most beautiful entry, encompassing float design, floral presentation, and entertainment.”

The float illustrated the Legend of Fish Leaping Over the Dragon Gate, which tells of fish who swim upstream to the gate at the source of the Yellow River. The fish who leap over the gate are Continue reading “Singpoli American BD ‘Rising Above’ wins Sweepstakes award at 2018 Rose Parade”