Iraq War Veteran to be Rose Parade Grand Marshal (Video)
Iraq War Veteran and Dancing with the Stars contestant J.R. Martinez will be the Grand Marshal of the 123rd Tournament of Roses festivities. Martinez will not only be the Rose Parade's Grand Marshal, but he'll also toss the coin before the Rose Bowl football game.
In a statement, Martinez said of being chosen as Grand Marshal:
“To be able to participate in this iconic American tradition on New Year’s Day is something I could only imagine. I believe everything happens for a reason and I’m grateful the events of my life have provided me with the opportunity to share my message of hope and possibility on New Year’s Day.’’
The parade and football game will actually take place on Monday, January 2nd instead of the traditional New Year's Day. That's because there's a rule against holding the events on Sunday.
Martinez was in the Army serving in Iraq back in 2003 when his Humvee hit a land mine and burst into flames. Martinez suffered severe burns to more than 40 percent of his body. So far, he's undergone 33 surgeries on the road to recovery.
My colleagues who watch the show tell me Martinez is a favorite to win DWTS. Here's video of Martinez and partner Karina Smirnoff performing the quick step, courtesy of ABC: