MILITARY THREE-VOLLEY SALUTE ADDED TO PRE-RACE CEREMONIES
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 11, 2009 -- The solemn, annual ceremonies honoring United States Armed Forces veterans just moments before the start of the Indianapolis 500 will include a patriotic new element in 2009, a military Three-Volley Salute.
Immediately before the playing of "Taps" by a lone bugler, a 10-member firing detail from the Indiana National Guard will execute the military Three-Volley Salute. The 2009 Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to start at 1 p.m., with the Three-Volley Salute and other military ceremonies taking place just moments before the call to start engines.
The members of the Indiana National Guard participating in the Three-Volley Salute are MSG Tony Williams, SGT James Byers, SSG Bruce Bennett, SSG Gary Hatcher, SSG Jerry James and SPC Johnny Everett (Indianapolis), SGT James Vester (Avon), SFC Curtis Pigg (Veedersburg), SGT Charles Henry (Madison) and SPC Craig Cambron (Carmel).
"Honoring the sacrifice of our brave men and women in the military is one of the most important traditions of the Indianapolis 500," said Joie Chitwood, president and chief operating officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "It's an honor for us to introduce the Three-Volley Salute to the pre-race ceremonies as a tribute to our military and as a reminder to everyone of how selflessly our Armed Forces protect our freedom."
Often mistaken as the "21-Gun Salute" because seven riflemen each will fire three rounds (volleys), the Three-Volley Salute is a different military tradition taken from the battlefields of the Civil War. Often during fighting, a battle would be halted to allow the two sides to clear their dead or wounded. After each army cleared its soldiers, both sides would fire three volleys into the air, indicating the battle would resume.
The Three-Volley Salute will add to the emotion, tradition and pageantry of the electric moments before the field of 33 drivers takes the green flag at Indianapolis. Here are other elements to the long-standing traditional final 30 minutes before the start of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" at Indianapolis:
•"God Bless America" performed by Florence Henderson
•"Star Spangled Banner"
•"Drivers to Your Cars announcement
•Military flyover, this year by two World War II B-25 bombers
•Invocation by Rev. Daniel Buechlein, Archbishop of Indianapolis
•"Taps," performed by a single bugler
•"Back Home Again in Indiana," performed by Jim Nabors
•Command to Start Engines, Mari Hulman George, Victory Podium
•Pace Laps, this year led by the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car driven by actor Josh Duhamel
•Green flag for the 2009 Indianapolis 500
2009 IMS tickets: Established in 1909, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has long prevailed as an icon of motorsports excellence. Beginning in 2009, the Speedway celebrates its Centennial Era, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the facility in 2009 and the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in 2011.
Tickets for the three events in 2009 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- the Indianapolis 500, Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and Red Bull Indianapolis GP -- can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com at any time.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.