Gabby Giffords has been named Grand Marshal of the 2023 Rose Parade

PASADENA, California– Gabby Giffords will serve as Grand Marshal of the 134th Rose Parade next year.

The former Democratic congresswoman from Arizona will drive down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena on January 2nd. Giffords will be part of the coin toss for the 109th Rose Bowl game later that day.

As next January 1st falls on a Sunday, the parade and game will take place on Monday, in keeping with the Tournament of Roses tradition of never holding the events on a Sunday.

“I am so honored to be Grandmaster of the Rose Parade,” Giffords said Thursday after being introduced on the lawn of the Tournament House in Pasadena. She walked out to the song “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty.

The parade’s theme, “Turning the Corner,” represents the world emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and the sweeping turn the floats and bands take as part of their 5 1/2 mile route from Orange Grove Boulevard turn into Colorado Boulevard.

Giffords, 52, was shot in the head during a public appearance outside a grocery store in Tucson, Arizona, in January 2011. Because of the severe brain injury she sustained, she had to relearn how to walk and speak.

“Our lives can change so quickly. Mine did when I was shot, but I never gave up hope,” Giffords told the crowd. “I have decided to make a fresh start, to move forward and not to look back.”

Tournament of Roses President Amy Wainscott singled out Giffords as “a perfect example of boldly turning corners”.

Giffords is a gun safety advocate who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom earlier this year.

Gifford’s husband, Democrat Mark Kelly, is running for re-election to the US Senate from Arizona. He wasn’t there for Thursday’s announcement, but he will be by her side for the New Year’s celebrations.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Gabby Giffords has been named Grand Marshal of the 2023 Rose Parade

Laura Coffey

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