Gary Sinise named 2018 Rose Parade grand marshal

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Actor Gary Sinise has been named the grand marshal of the 2018 Rose Parade. (KABC)

Actor Gary Sinise has been named the grand marshal of the 2018 Rose Parade.

The theme for this year's parade is, "Making a Difference," and the 62-year-old actor has spent much of his life doing just that.

Tournament of Roses President Lance Tibbet announced the selection Monday. He cited Sinise's many contributions to veterans' causes.

The Oscar nominee is known for many roles in film and television. Most would recognize him for the role of Lt. Dan Taylor, a bitter Vietnam War veteran and double amputee in the 1994 film, "Forrest Gump."

In thanking the Tournament of Roses for the grand marshal honor, he recalled the movie's famous line, saying, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get."

It was during the filming of "Forrest Gump" that Sinise was introduced to the Disabled American Veterans organization. He has volunteered with the USO, entertained troops around the world with his band, the Lt. Dan Band, and also created the Gary Sinise Foundation.

The foundation's mission is to honor America's veterans, first responders and families in need.

"Our veterans or active duty service members, military families, first responders - if I can shine a light on them and help make a difference in their lives, make a positive difference in their lives and shine an even bigger light because I'm the grand marshal of the Tournament of Roses and it's watched all over the world, then that's a good thing," Sinise said.

He added, "These people are, whether you know it or not, each day people are doing dangerous things in dangerous situations to try to defend us all."

Over the years, Sinise's humanitarian work has also been recognized with several awards, including the Presidential Citizens Medal.

Sinise will ride through Pasadena in the 129th Rose Parade on New Year's Day and participate in the celebration before at the 104th Rose Bowl game, which will be a college football playoff semifinal.

You can watch the Rose Parade on New Year's Day on ABC7.

PHOTOS: 2017 Rose Parade float winners
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related Topics:
societyrose paradehigh schoolstudentsPasadenaLos Angeles County
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