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Heartwarming moments defy chill at Rose Parade

12:52 AM, Jan 2, 2013   |    comments
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Sgt. First Class Eric Pazz from the Canines with Courage float surprising his wife Miriam and son at the 124th Tournamernt of Roses Parade on January 1, 2013 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

PASADENA, Calif. -- Some heartwarming moments on a chilly day boosted the spirits of some 700,000 spectators during the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

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Spectators rose to a standing ovation when Army Sgt. First Class Eric Pazz, who was riding on the Natural Balance Pet Foods float, hopped off and walked over to his surprised wife Miriam and 4-year-old son Eric Jr. 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.

Cheers also went up for a Virginia couple who tied the knot aboard Farmers Insurance "Love Float." Gerald Sapienza and Nicole Angelillo were high school classmates who reconnected 10 years later and won the parade wedding over three other couples in a nationwide contest.

The parade's theme this year was "Oh the Places You'll Go!" named in honor of the Dr. Seuss book. It served as a fitting slogan for grand marshal British primatologist Jane Goodall, who has spent much of her life in Tanzania studying chimpanzees.

This year's parade also saw the first-ever float entered by the Defense Department: A replica of the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington.

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