Memorial Day service honors fallen heroes

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The 500 Festival Memorial Service got underway at noon in downtown Indianapolis. The solemn ceremony honors the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for the United States.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, a former Marine, was one of the featured speakers.

 "My thoughts on this day often go to what is our duty going forward? How do we carry on so that their ultimate sacrifices are as meaningful as possible? Are we doing the best we can to uphold the American ideals for which they died?" said Mayor Ballard. "I hope all of us ponder these questions and that they give us courage to continue the march."

He quoted, "'We who are left, how shall we look again happily on the sun or feel the rain without remembering how they, who went ungrudgingly and spent their lives for us, loved too, the sun and the rain? It is our duty to carry on despite the pain which never quite leaves.'"

500 Festival Chairman of the Board Ted Dickman and the Honorable Governor Mike Pence also spoke. The 2013 featured speaker is General Daniel B. Allyn, the 20th commander of United States Army Forces Command.

A special horse-drawn caisson will carry the remains of a fallen service member. A rider-less horse with boots reversed in the stirrups represents that a leader has fallen and will ride no more. A ceremonial flyover will conclude the service.

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Guests of honor include Mr. Ted Dickman, Chairman of the 500 Festival Board of Directors; Ms. Autumn Letendre, Gold Star Spouse Speaker; The Honorable Mike Pence, Governor of the State of Indiana; The Honorable Greg Ballard, Mayor of the City of Indianapolis; Major General R. Martin Umbarger, The Adjutant General of Indiana; Brigadier General J. Stewart Goodwin, Commander Indiana Air National Guard and Family members of Hoosier servicemen and women who have died during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

The 500 Festival Memorial Service will also include the joint service Color Guard presentation of colors. Performances will include the Indiana National Guard's 38th Infantry Division Band and the Capital City Chorus. A wreath-laying ceremony, dedicated to the memory of all Hoosiers in all wars and conflicts who sacrificed their lives in defense of the nation, will take place while the names of those Indiana service members who have fallen within the past year are read aloud. A special horse-drawn caisson will be presented by the Indiana National Guard Joint Force Headquarters Ceremonial Unit. The caisson carries the remains of the fallen service member, while the caparison horse trails behind. This rider-less horse, with boots reversed in the stirrups, represents that a leader has fallen and will ride no more. A ceremonial flyover will conclude the service.

Please see the detailed timeline below for a schedule of Memorial Service activities (times are approximate and are subject to change).

5 a.m.: Monument Circle is closed to traffic

Noon: "America the Beautiful" by Capital City Chorus

12:02 p.m.: Welcoming remarks from Jim Denny (WFMS)

12:04 p.m.: Remarks from Ted Dickman, 500 Festival Chairman

12:05 p.m. National Anthem by Major Lisa Kopczynski (Cup-CHIN-ski) and 38th Infantry Division Band

12:14 p.m. POW/MIA Flag Placement, Daniel Wheeler, Co-Master of Ceremonies

12:16 p.m. Remarks by Mayor Greg Ballard

12:18 p.m. Remarks by Governor Mike Pence

12:22 p.m. Remarks by General Daniel B. Allyn

12:31 p.m. Remarks by Gold Star Spouse Autumn Letendre (le-ten-DREE)

12:33 p.m. Laying of the wreaths

12:40 p.m. Presentation of Caisson; Rifle Salute

12:48 p.m. Bugler performs Taps

12:51 p.m. Battle Hymn of the Republic by 38th Infantry Division Band

12:54 p.m. Missing man formation flyover (Trojan Horseman of Cincinnati flying the T-6 Texan and the L-17 Navion adorned in the colors of our United States Air Force)

12:57 p.m. God Bless America by Capital City Chorus

1 p.m. Service concludes