HomeFilipino AmericanPhilippine Scouts, Sikhs and Olympic Legend Greg Louganis in Tournament of Roses...

Philippine Scouts, Sikhs and Olympic Legend Greg Louganis in Tournament of Roses Parade

Philippine Scout Heritage Society
The Philippine Scouts Heritage Society, seen here in the Huntington, Calif. parade, will be be part of the
Tournament of Roses Parade for the first time.

By Ed Diokno

Greg Louganis will be one of the grand marshals for the 128th Tournament of Roses Parade on Monday, Jan. 2. He is the first American of Pacific Island heritage to have the honor of leading one of the most-watched parades in the world.

Asian and Asian American watchers of the parade will also enjoy seeing the United Sikh Mission float and the equestrian unit of the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society of the U.S. Army’s 26th Cavalry Regiment.

This will be the first time that the Philippine Scouts will participate in the parade, but it is the third year for the Sikhs.

The Philippine Scouts were formed after the Philippine-American War (which some history books incorrectly think is the same as the Spanish-American War) after which the Philippines became a colony of the United States. As with other racially segregated units in the U.S. military at the time, it was led by white officers. The Scouts were among the first American units to fight in World War II against the Japanese Imperial Army. With Gen. Douglas MacArthur as their supreme commander, they were sometimes referred to as “MacArthur’s Soldiers.”


The society was formed in 1984 to educate the public on the heroism and legacy of the Philippine Scouts. The group was formed to honor a gallant Group of Filipino soldiers and their American officers who seriously affected and delayed Japanese Imperial Army plans on conquering the Pacific Far East and invade Australia in 1941.The riders are current or retired military or descendants of the original group of Filipino veterans. In the parade, they will be wearing WWII-style cavalry uniforms, khaki riding breeches and green (Smokey-The-Bear) campaign hats.


Sikh Float at Tournament of Roses Parade
Sikhs entered this flower bedecked float in last year’s Rose parade
For the third year, United Sikh Mission, a nonprofit, will take part in the 128th Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, with a float to share Sikh American history and culture with attendees and viewers at home.


The 2017 float will depict the Golden Temple — Sikhism’s most important temple, located in the Indian state of Punjab — and four white peacocks, the state bird of Punjab, where most of the religion’s adherents are from.


Organizers hope that building these floats and participating in the parade will help educate the public about Sikhism and Sikh Americans and help dispel harmful stereotypes, especially in today’s climate of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment.


“The Rose Bowl Parade has welcomed us with open arms, and we’re honored to be a part of the festivities,” Singh said. “Through this project, we’re starting new conversations, engaging new audiences, and showing many Americans for the first time how beautiful the Sikh experience is. Every year, our children love putting the flowers on the float and parents serve hangar to all the Rose Bowl Parade volunteers.”


RELATED: Greg Louganis finally gets his cereal box and that’s a big deal


Louganis is acknowledged as one of the greatest Olympic divers of all time. He is a four-time Olympic champion and U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame member.


2017 Grand Marshals for Tournament of Roses Parade
Greg Louganis, left, will be co-Grand Marshall of the Rose Parade along with fellow Olympic athletes Janet Evans, center, and Allyson Felix.

Louganis, a Samoan American from El Cajon, CA. earned a total of five Olympic medals, won five world championship titles and 47 national titles (more than anyone in U.S. history).

He is not the first AAPI person to serve as Grand Marshall. That distinction belongs to Thanat Khoman, one of Thailand’s most noted diplomats, who was chosen for the 1967 parade.


Louganis is sharing the Grand Marshall honor this year with former Olympians, swimmer Janet Evans and sprinter Allyson Felix.


One more Asian American angle to the parade, which is broadcast throughout the world, it is sponsored by Honda.


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