News: Indiana hosts 7th annual Blue Star Salute
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana’s Adjutant General Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, Gov. Mitch Daniels and Secretary of State Connie Lawson hosted the seventh annual Blue Star Salute to families of deployed and deceased service members at Indiana Joint Force Headquarters, Saturday, June 16, 2012.
The event also saluted Umbarger and wife Rowana for their dedication in service as the Indiana National Guard’s first family for the past eight years.
The Blue Star Service Banner was designed and patented in 1917 during World War I. The blue star represents a family member serving in the U.S. armed forces. If the family loses the service member, the blue star turns to gold. This tradition has carried on to today’s war on terrorism with help from the American Legion.
“The Blue Star speaks for itself,” said Daniels. “There will never be a way to fully thank these families for their sacrifices they’ve made, but days like today give a chance to do it partially. I’m so grateful to the Legion for putting this event together.”
A motorcycle procession of more than 400 bikes was led by Indianapolis Colts mascot, Blue. The motorcycle fleet traveled from Plainfield, Ind., to the Indiana Guard headquarters to kick off the celebration.
Following the ride, the Gold Star flag, embroidered with the names of the 197 Indiana service members deceased as result of the terrorism war, was presented to families of the fallen followed by a moment of silence and taps.
Festivities included military vehicle displays, skydivers, flyovers by a refurbished Navy T-28 Trojan and UH-1 Huey helicopter. Indiana Pacers players, Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders, and both team’s mascots also showed support.
Vendors provided food, face painting for children, Elmo from Sesame Street, games, and live performance by Indianapolis band Jayne Bond and the Pink Martinis.
Umbarger and his wife were presented the Blue Star Salute Award for their participation over in the program.
“For the last 43 years it’s been a privilege to wear the uniform of this nation,” said Umbarger. “I’m so thankful to those Blue Star families, and those I’ve come to know so well when sometimes those blue stars turn to gold. I’m so thankful for this award you’ve bestowed upon me today. I’m not worthy, but I’ll accept it on behalf of the 15,000 soldiers and airman that I command, and their families.”
Date Posted:06.20.2012 23:57
Location:INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US
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