Of all the floats in this year's Rose Parade, one in particular is much more than just a float. "It's a dream come true for me," Jerry Thomsen told KABC-TV. "This is something I've wanted to do for nine years."
When America was attacked on September 11, 2001, Thomsen and some of his fellow Los Angeles firefighters headed to Ground Zero to help. Now, he and other firefighters are working to honor their fallen comrades in a most unique way. Thomsen's dream will be realized when a special Rose Parade float honoring 9/11 victims is prominently featured in the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade.
"I've heard 'never forget' for a long time, and I think we've forgotten about our heroes that we lost," he said. KABC reports:
The front of the float honors the hijacked United 93 flight. The middle commemorates the Pentagon. The rear depicts New York City.
The float will be lined with roses, each of them with a different 9/11 victim's name on it. A fire hydrant found in the Ground Zero rubble will also be on the float.
Merill Mielke, who has worked on floats for 38 years, says this one is most special.
"It has a lot more meaning behind it. It's not just a beautiful thing. It's really bringing memories back," she said.
The float's theme is "Remember, Reflect, Renew" -- a message Thomsen says fits perfectly with the annual New Year's celebration.