Roses are red, violets are blue, and at this year's Rose Parade, nurses will get their due. On Jan. 1, more than 40 floats, 20 marching bands and 20 equestrian units will wind their way through Pasadena, Calif., on the way to the Rose Bowl in celebration of the granddaddy of them all, the 99th Rose Bowl football game. Mixed in among dazzling displays of flowers rolling down Colorado Boulevard will be a new entrant titled "A Healing Place." It pays tribute to the nation's nurses.

For the first time in its 124-year history, a nurse is serving as president of the Tournament of Roses. Sally Bixby, R.N., spent 38 years as an operating room nurse before retiring recently.

In 2007, when it was known that Bixby would be president for the 2013 parade, a group of five fellow nurses came up with the idea to fund a float honoring the nursing profession. They formed a nonprofit, Bare Root, and raised more than $300,000, including donations from several California hospitals.

With the float more than paid for, Paul Wafer, R.N., who serves as the group's vice president of marketing, says there are plans to fund a nursing scholarship. Details have yet to be worked out.

"This is a great honor," Bixby says. "Nurses are proud of what they do, but sometimes we aren't very good at telling our story."