This year’s Blue Star Salute had all its trademarks. More than 350 motorcyclists from the American Legion Riders, Patriot Guard Riders, U.S. Military Vets Motorcycle Club, and others rode from Harley Davidson West in Plainfield to the track. In the process they raised $3,200 for the American Legion’s Legacy Fund, which awards scholarships to children of vets killed in action.
Mascots and cheerleaders from the Colts, Pacers, Fever, and Indians were on hand. Walt Gadowski flew the T-28 trainer airplane he restored over the proceedings, while three parachutists dropped in with flags.
Vicki Murphy, a former member of the Army Reserves and current spokesperson for the Brownsburg Community School Corporation, gave a brief history of the Blue Star while serving as emcee for the event. The Blue Star banner started during World War I. People displayed it in their homes to signify a loved one was serving in the military. The tradition faded after the Second World War, then made a big comeback after 9/11.
“You started seeing it in homes again all over the place, largely due to the efforts of the American Legion,” Murphy said. “They made it available to military families.”
A Gold Star indicates a relative killed in service. A Gold Star flag was showcased at the event. It was embroidered with the names of all 204 vets from Indiana killed in action since 9/11.
Zoccolillo closed the proceedings by honoring Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson with the Blue Star Appreciation Award. Lawson has been part of the salute since it started in 2006 at Avon-Washington Township Park.
“I’ve had the pleasure of attending all these events,” she said. “It’s never felt like it’s part of my job. I’ve always been here because I want to be. It brings attention to our military and their families, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Visit the website IndianaBlueStar.org for more information.