Photo by James V. Carroll

Blue Star Salute moves to Stout Field

Hundreds of military families from throughout the Midwest will gather at Stout Field, home of the Indiana National Guard, on Saturday for the 5th Annual Indiana Blue Star Salute. A convoy of Legion Riders, escorted from overhead by a UH-1 Huey helicopter, will travel from Indy West Harley Davidson to Stout Field, arriving between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Gates open at noon.

Among the many attractions this year are performances by country star and devoted American Legion supporter Michael Peterson and appearances by the Indianapolis Colts and

Indiana Pacers cheerleaders. Activities for people of all ages are scheduled, both indoors and outdoors, including a rock-climbing wall, inflatable jousting, bungee runs, raffles and a video-game arcade. Sky divers will jump onto the field during the event, which will also feature a fly over by a T-28 Navy fighter plane. Military, government and Legion dignitaries will address military families in attendance. Admission is free, and the public is welcome.

A solemn tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the Global War on Terrorism is also scheduled.

Families wishing to register to attend and be honored at the Indiana Blue Star Salute can do so by visiting

Donations, corporate contributions and pledges generate support for the event, which last year delivered $11,000 to The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund. Children of military personnel killed on active duty since 9/11 receive college money from the fund, managed at American Legion National Headquarters.

The Blue Star Banner, a common sight in the windows of American homes during World War I and World War II, was resurrected by The American Legion at the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001. Each blue star indicates a family member serving in the armed forces at a time of war.