Gary Sinise has been chosen as the grand marshal for the 2018 Rose Parade in Pasadena, the Tournament of Roses Association announced Monday. This year's parade theme is "Making a Difference."
Tournament of Roses President Lance Tibbet announced the selection Monday. He cited Sinise's many contributions to veterans' causes.
Sinise is an actor, director and musician who has won several prestigious performing arts awards, including an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Oscar nomination.
He famously played Lt. Dan Taylor in "Forrest Gump" (1994). Sinise "formed an enduring connection with servicemen and women throughout the military community" after portraying the wounded veteran in the film, according to the Gary Sinise Foundation website.
He will ride through Pasadena, California, 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.
In thanking the Tournament of Roses for the grand marshal honor he recalled a famous line from "Forrest Gump," saying, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get."
In 2011, he established the Gary Sinise Foundation to provide a wide range of services to veterans, service members and first responders.
Sinise told the Pasadena gathering he feels blessed to use his career success "to make a difference in the lives of our veterans, our active-duty service members, our Gold Star families — way too many Gold Star families, way too many wounded from these wars."
He added, "They continue to struggle. They continue to sacrifice for us. So if by shining a little spotlight on me on January 1st can shine a spotlight on them to help me make a difference in their lives, I am very, very grateful to do that."