The Defense Department paid tribute to veterans of the Korean War with its first-ever float in the 124th Tournament of Roses New Year’s Day parade.
The $247,000 flower-covered float, titled “Freedom Is Not Free,” is a replica of the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It rolled through the streets of Pasadena, Calif. ahead of the 60th anniversary of the July 1953 armistice that halted the fighting.
Col. David Clark told the Associated Press that the Defense Department wanted to remind Americans about the sacrifices made in what has become known as “The Forgotten War.”
“As a nation, this may be our last opportunity to say `thank you’ to them and honor their service,” Clark, director of the Korean War Commemoration Committee, said of the war’s aging veterans.
The float won the National Trophy for best depiction of life in the U.S. Six veterans rode in it along the parade route, including 82-year-old author and actor James McEachin.
“I think it’s a magnificent gesture and it cures a lot of ills,” McEachin said.