Fri, 05/24/2024 - 11:00am to 1:00pm

Uniting Indianapolis in Reflection for 60+ Years

The 500 Festival invites the community to join in reflection and gratitude at the Memorial Service on Friday, May 24 at 12:00 p.m. EDT (11:00 a.m. CDT)  The service will take place on the north steps of the Indiana War Memorial and is free to the public.

The American Legion 500 Festival Memorial Service honors and remembers our nation’s fallen heroes and the brave servicemen and women who have perished while serving in the armed forces.

The service includes the posting of colors by the Military Department of Indiana’s Joint Service Color Guard and performances by the Capital City Chorus and the Indiana National Guard’s 38th Infantry Division Band.

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The American Legion 500 Festival Memorial Service has united the community in downtown Indianapolis for decades. Amidst the racing festivities, it provides a moment for collective reflection on a significant holiday – Memorial Day. It is a weekend to remember the sacrifices made by the brave servicemen and women who perished while serving in the armed forces.

A wreath-laying ceremony, dedicated to the memory of all Hoosiers who sacrificed their lives in defense of the nation in all wars and conflicts, will take place. The names of those Indiana service members who have fallen in the theatre of war within the past year will be read aloud and the bell of the USS Indianapolis CA-35 will toll in their honor.

Coat, Military person, Military uniform, Hat, Gesture, Military officer, Suit, Tree, Musical instrument, Official

A Military Funeral Procession, also known as a Cortege, will be presented by the Indiana National Guard Headquarters Ceremonial Unit. The Cortege is comprised of service members who accompany the remains of the deceased to the gravesite. Elements of a Cortege are the Escort Commander, Honor Platoons representing all services, Drummers, an Honor Guard, the horse-drawn Caisson which transports the fallen hero’s remains, eight Casket Bearers, and the Caparisoned Horse. A riderless horse, also called a Caparisoned Horse, follows the Caisson. The horse is adorned with a saddle, a pair of Cavalry boots reversed in the stirrups, and an Army Saber attached to the right side of the saddle. This symbolizes the fact that the deceased had fallen as a warrior and will not ride again.

2024 Keynote Speaker

Military uniform, Military person, Gesture, Collar, Government agency, Non-commissioned officer, Flag of the united states, Tie, Blazer, Military officerFor this year’s American Legion 500 Festival Memorial Service, the Keynote Speaker will be Lieutenant General Jon A. Jensen, Director of the Army National Guard.

Lieutenant General Jon A. Jensen assumed the duties as Director of the Army National Guard in August 2020, after previously serving as Major General in June 2017. Jensen was commissioned in 1989, after graduating from Northwest Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Business Economics.

He guides the formulation, development, and implementation of all programs and policies affecting the Army National Guard; a force of nearly 335,000 Soldiers in the 50 states, three territories and the District of Colombia.

“I’m honored to participate in such an iconic event and humbled to represent the 325,000 men and women of the Army National Guard in honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation’s freedoms.” – Lieutenant General Jon A. Jensen, 22nd Director of the Army National Guard.

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