500 Festival Memorial Service presented by Rolls-Royce

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Honor our fallen soldiers

The month of May in Indianapolis is a celebration of the world’s largest single-day sporting event in the world – the Indianapolis 500. Beyond that, the 500 Festival also embraces a very important holiday in the midst of its festivities – Memorial Day and a weekend to remember the sacrifices made by Indiana men and women who perished while serving in the armed forces.

Gen. Frank J. Grass is scheduled be the featured speaker at the 2014 500 Festival Memorial Service, presented by Rolls-Royce.

Grass is the 27th Chief of the National Guard Bureau and the first of which to be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He serves as a military adviser to the President, Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and is the Department of Defense's official channel of communication to the Governors and State Adjutants General on all matters pertaining to the National Guard. He is responsible for ensuring that the more than 470,000 Army and Air National Guard personnel are accessible, capable and ready to protect the homeland and to provide combat resources to the Army and Air Force.

Grass began his career as an enlisted soldier for the Missouri Army National Guard in 1969. He attended the Missouri Army National Guard Military Academy Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as in the Engineer Corps in June 1981. Prior to his current assignment, he served as Deputy Commander, United States Northern Command and Vice Commander, United States Element, North American Aerospace Defense Command (USELEMNORAD) at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. As Deputy Commander, United States Northern Command, Gen. Grass helped lead the command to anticipate, prepare and respond to threats and aggression aimed at the United States, its territories and interests within the assigned area of responsibility and as directed by the President or Secretary of Defense, provide Defense Support to Civil Authorities, including consequence management operations.

The 500 Festival Memorial Service will also include the joint service color guard presentation of colors and performances by the Capital City Chorus. There will also be performances by famed Irish Tenor and special guest, Ronan Tynan. Indiana National Guard’s 38th Infantry Division Band and Tynan will perform the National Anthem. Tynan will also perform an a cappella version of “Amazing Grace.”

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 Headquarters Ceremonial Unit. The caisson carries the remains of the fallen service member, while the caparisoned horse trails behind. This rider-less horse, with boots reversed in the stirrups, represents a leader has fallen and will ride no more.

The 500 Festival Memorial Service, presented by Rolls-Royce, is sponsored and supported by Rolls-Royce, OneAmerica, The American Legion, radio partner WFMS 95.5 FM and TV partner WNDY-TV, who will be telecasting the event commercial-free.

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