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Heartwarming moments defy chill at Rose Parade

  • The 2013 Rose Queen Queen Vanessa Manjarrez rides a float in the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

PASADENA — A couple who became husband and wife on the "Love Float," a surprise reunion between a returning soldier and his little boy, and a grand marshal famed globally for her chimpanzee research were among the highlights of the 124th Rose Parade on Tuesday.

The parade's spectacular 42 floral floats brightened an otherwise cloudy New Year's morning and boosted the spirits of a chilled crowd estimated at some 700,000 spectators lining the 5-mile route.

Spectators rose to a standing ovation when Army Sgt. First Class Eric Pazz, who was riding on the Natural Balance Pet Foods float along with other service members, got off the float and walked over to his surprised wife Miriam and 4-year-old son Eric Jr., who came running out of the stands into the arms of his 32-year-old father.

Miriam Pazz had been told she had won a contest to attend the parade and did not know her husband, who is deployed in Afghanistan, would be there. Pazz is a highly decorated soldier who has also served in Iraq. The family, who currently lives in Germany, climbed aboard the float for the rest of the route.

Cheers also went up for a Chesapeake, Va., couple who tied the knot aboard Farmers Insurance "Love Float."


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