Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman turned fierce gun control advocate after she suffered severe injuries in a mass shooting outside a grocery store in her home state, is the grand marshal for the 2023 Rose Parade, officials announced Thursday, Oct. 13.
Giffords will serve as ambassador for this year’s festivities before enjoying a one-of-a-king float ride through Colorado Boulevard in the 134th Rose Parade.
“I’m so honored to be grand marshal of the Rose Parade,” Giffords said Thursday as the Tournament of Roses announced the honor. “Thank you very, very much!”
Your 2023 Grand Marshal is Gabby Giffords! pic.twitter.com/iX309ZVTIW
— Brennon Dixson (@TheBrennonD) October 13, 2022
Giffords’ own personal journey personifies the parade’s 2023 theme – “Turning the Corner” — a moment in our personal and collective life when we can “rise above — alone, or with family, friends and community” — said Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association President Amy Wainscott.
Giffords embraced the figurative and literal meanings.
“I love the theme of ‘turning the corner’—the idea that we all can make a conscious decision to go in a different direction, towards something better.
“This philosophy of moving ahead is one that I’ve tried to embody both in my personal journey of recovery since being shot in 2011 and in the fight for gun violence prevention that has become my life’s work.”
But she also put it in a national perspective, pointing to a nation divided by a pandemic and political rhetoric, noting that people still can find common ground to “take steps towards a better future, even if these steps aren’t always as quick or as sure as we would like them to be.”
“I’m extremely grateful to follow in the footsteps of the many distinguished grand marshals in the Parade’s history and to blaze my own path forward.
Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is announced as the 2023 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal. The announcement took place on the front steps of Tournament House Thursday, October13, 2022. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
The announcement was made Thursday, Oct. 13, on the steps of the famed Tournament House with dozens in attendance to witness the ceremony.
She follows the 2021 selection of Lavar Burton and other vocal stalwarts like Chaka Khan who traveled the parade route in 2019.
She now finds herself where few others have in history – leader of the Rose Parade.
The Rose Queen’s selection on Tuesday, Oct. 25 is the final major ceremony remaining before the Rose Parade returns to the streets of Pasadena on Jan. 2 since New Year’s Day falls on Sunday this year.
Here is the 2023 Rose Parade Royal Court chosen by the Tournament of Roses
The Rose Parade: Pasadena Star-News
List: Past grand marshals of the Rose Parade in Pasadena
Rose Parade 2022: Grand Marshal LeVar Burton epitomizes the theme
This is breaking news; Watch for updates.