Gary Sinise Will be Grand Marshal of the 2018 Rose Parade

Published : Monday, October 30, 2017 | 8:59 AM

Actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, perhaps best known for portraying Lt. Dan Taylor in the 1994 smash comedy-drama film “Forrest Gump” opposite Tom Hanks, has been announced as the 2018 Tournament Of Roses Grand Marshal.

Tournament of Roses President, Lance Tibbet made the announcement on Monday at the Tournament House in Pasadena. Tibbet described Sinise as someone making a difference in his community through his work with military veterans.

Sinise will ride in the 129th Rose Parade themed “Making A Difference” and participate in the pre-game celebration of the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual both are held on January 1, 2018.

Tournament of Roses President, Lance Tibbet made the announcement on Monday at the Tournament House in Pasadena. Tibbet described Sinise as someone making a difference in his community through his work with military veterans.

“The 2018 theme, ‘Making A Difference,’ is a way to honor and celebrate all of the people in our communities, who quietly and without desire for reward or recognition, act in selfless, generous and kind ways to aid or benefit others. Gary Sinise is absolutely one of those people. Gary’s humanitarian work with our defenders, veterans, first responders and their families over the years, embodies our theme to the fullest.” said Tibbet.

“As members of a community, a country and a planet, we all have the ability, power and responsibility to help one another and as Gary likes to say….we can always do a little more.”

Sinise has been working in support of veterans for nearly forty years. His commitment started in the early 1980′s when he began supporting local Vietnam War veterans’ groups in the Chicago area and co-founded the Vets Night program at the Steppenwolf Theatre. This program continues to this day and invites veterans to a free dinner and performance for each one of the plays produced at the theatre.

Sinise’s portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor, a veteran who had lost both legs during the Vietnam War in “Forrest Gump” started his connection with U.S. servicemen and women throughout the military community.

According to a statement from the Tournament of Roses, shortly after the film opened, Sinise was introduced to the Disabled American Veterans organization as they invited him to their national convention to present him with their National Commanders Award for playing “Lt. Dan.”

Sinise’s involvement with veterans saw him doing volunteer work for the USO, performances with his band, the “Gary Sinise & Lt. Dan Band” that entertained troops around the world, and the creation of the Gary Sinise Foundation which was formed in 2011 with the mission to honor America’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need.

In recognition of his humanitarian work on behalf of veterans, Sinise also earned numerous distinguished awards including the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment from the Medal of Honor Society, the Spirit of the USO Award, the Sylvanus Thayer Award from the West Point Association of Graduates, the George Catlett Marshall Medal from the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), and the Presidential Citizens Medal which is the second-highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation, among others.