The first Rose Parade float entered by the Department of Defense, “Freedom Is not Free,” paid tribute to Korean War veterans on the 60th anniversary of the conflict, 1950-1953. Inspired by the Korean War monument in Washington, D.C., the float won the National Trophy for “Best Depiction of Life In U.S.A. – Past, Present Or Future.”
Phoenix Decorating Company tool on the challenge of bringing the monument to Pasadena through the use of floral materials, recreating six of the 19 statues from the monument. The 7-foot high stainless steel statues of the monument were translated into sculptures ranging in height from 12 feet to 21 feet for proper scale and perspective. The soldiers were clad in various dry materials, including leaves and seeds, to create their drab rain ponchos and gear as they trudged along on a hill of fir and white roses.
For more about the lengths Phoenix took to ensure that the statues were accurately depicted and interviews with vets, read “DOD commemorates 60th anniversary of Korean War with 2013 Rose Parade float” in this column.
The B-2 Spirit bomber, which usually flies over the parade route just before the first float, soared over the parade just after the float launched a volley of fireworks in front of the television cameras. The two-pilot crew flew the aircraft from Whiteman AFB in Missouri as part of a training mission. After a pass over the Rose Bowl Game, the flight plan was to continue to Oregon and refuel over the Pacific on the return trip.
Two of the figures were transferred recently to the Northern California Veterans Museum and Heritage Center in Redding. Kelli Saam of KRCRTV reported that the float was constructed by Whitney-Stone, Inc. in Willows, a town about an hour’s drive south of Redding. Robert Stone, President/CEO of Whitney-Stone, notified museum curator Robert Burroughs that part of the float was available and Burroughs drove to Pasadena to pick up the figures. (A great overhead shot of the B-2 Spirit flying over the float is posted at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Whitney-Stone-Inc/173860576071326.)
The Department of Defense 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee was authorized by Congress to fund the float and commemoration and educational activities throughout 2013. The 2011 Defense Authorization Bill was dedicated to thanking and honoring Korean War veterans and their families and friends.
Col. David Clark, director of the commemoration committee, said, “Korean War veterans are keenly aware they returned to little or no recognition coming home. This premier event, with its rich 124-year history, will raise the visibility of Korean War veterans.”
The theme of the 124th Rose Parade and 99th Rose Bowl Game was “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” The 125th Rose Parade and 100th Rose Bowl Game will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Tournament of Roses is a celebration that lasts several weeks in the fall and winter.
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