While Memorial Day began after the Civil War as a day to commemorate those who fought and died for this country, the holiday has grown to mark the unofficial start of summer — a time to fire up the grill, wear shorts and enjoy the outdoors with friends and family.
Here are a few events happening in the area for families to honor the courageous men and women who served this country — as well as a day off to enjoy and participate in Indiana traditions such as the Indy 500.
The Indianapolis 500
Also known as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” in the 103rd Indianapolis 500, where 33 Indy Car drivers will compete for victory, prestige and the ever-coveted bottle of cold milk.
When: Gates open at 8 a.m.-6 p.m. May 26; the race starts at 12:45 p.m.
Where: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 4790 W. 16th St.
Price: $60 to $130
Meet the first African American Indianapolis
To celebrate the 103rd Indianapolis 500, the Crispus Attucks Museum will feature 64-year-old Willy T. Ribbs, the first African American to compete in the Indianapolis 500. You can meet Ribbs and ask him questions about his racing career.
When: 1-4 p.m. May 26
Where: Crispus Attucks Museum, 1140 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St.
Price: Free, but you must RSVP to 317-226-2432
Honoring the Courage
Crown Hill will hold several events honoring Civil War Veterans from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., including a re-enactment of the Civil War. Retired Brig. Gen. J. Stewart Goodwin will lead Crown Hill’s 151st Memorial Day ceremony at 2 p.m.
When: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 27
Where: Crown Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery, 700 38th St.
Memorial Day Service
at Washington Park East
To honor veterans who gave their lives for the country, a Memorial Day service will be held at Hoosier Patriot Memorial at Washington Park East Cemetery. The service will include the 38th Division Brass Quintet, a 21-gun salute and keynote presentations from Maj. Gen. Courtney P. Carr, the adjutant general of Indiana, and retired Brig. Gen. James L. Bauerle.
When: 10 a.m. to noon May 27
Where: Washington Park EastCemetery, 10612 E. Washington St.
Dinosaurs Up Close at
The Children’s Museum
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis will offer a variety of fun and educational events throughout Memorial Day weekend. In one of these events, Dinosaurs Up Close, children can learn about dinosaurs and see fossils up close.
When: 11:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. May 24 and 27
10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. May 25 and 26
Where: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, 3000 N. Meridian St.
Price: Free with admission; $20.75 youth, $25.75 adult, $24.50 for seniors
Contact staff writer Ben Lashar at 317-762-7848. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminLashar.