The American Legion is planning one of the largest Armed Forces Day celebrations in the country this year.
On May 17, currently active military servicepersons and their families from all over Indiana, along with the general public, are invited to attend the event at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. Admission and parking are free.
With gates opening at 1 p.m., a brief opening ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. with the arrival of more than 1,000 motorcyclists completing the "Ride for the Salute," a tour through Hendricks County which raises donations for The American Legacy Scholarship Fund.
U.S. and Indiana colors will arrive via skydivers, and a brief flag ceremony and invocation will be held, after which ORP will resume it's nominal racing schedule.
The main ceremony will be at 5 p.m., during which comments from dignitaries and various entertainments will be offered in appreciation of Indiana's military families.
Robert Spanogle, National Adjutant of The American Legion will be the keynote speaker. Each military family will receive a Blue Star Banner for display in their homes to show their communities that they have a family member in service.
Various military equipment will be on display, including Blackhawk and Apache helicopters, artillery pieces, military training equipment, and other non-military exhibits. Dove Flight and Lifeline helicopters will base operations from ORP during the event.
Lots of entertainment for kids will be on hand, including inflatables and a rock-climbing wall. Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders and mascots will also be on hand.
Military families are asked to register at http://www.hcbluestar.org as soon as possible. Persons interested in the "Ride for the Salute" may obtain more information at the same website.