Today, before the parties, tailgates, celebrity hoopla—and, naturally, auto racing—of Memorial Day weekend in Indianapolis, the 500 Festival held its annual service dedicated to fallen Hoosier servicemen and -women.
With a garrison flag blowing gently over Meridian Street in the sunny, 70-degree weather, dignitaries and military personnel, along with friends, family, and observant community members, gathered on the Circle in the shadow of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in remembrance of fellow Americans who paid the ultimate price for their country. The program included a wreath-laying, a horse-drawn caisson, and a rifle salute, as well as musical performances by the 38th Division Band, The Capital City Chorus, and Ronan Tynon.
The ceremony was particularly close to the heart of one attendee, Indianapolis native Cammie Doyle. Her brother, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Jeremy Doyle, died in 2005 while deployed in Iraq. “It’s always good coming here,” she says. “It’s very personal, and they seem to really touch everybody and reach out to everybody.”
Doyle also brought some perspective to the goings-on in Indianapolis over the next few days. She said that while she appreciated today’s service, she wishes that honoring veterans were even more central to the weekend’s activities, and added that it can be hard for children in particular to understand the true meaning of the holiday when it is so intertwined with fun and games.