MORRIS: May is time for pride, patriotism and speed

Greg Morris
May 21, 2011
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MorrisAs we head into the Memorial Day weekend, I’m taking time to pause from the day-to-day madness and allow myself the opportunity to reflect a bit and be thankful for life’s treasures.

First, I am extremely thankful that I have the privilege to live in the greatest country in the world. The true purpose of Memorial Day gets lost as the years go by. Sometimes we need to stop and remind ourselves why we have the liberties we do. Memorial Day is the time to commemorate those men and women who gave their lives serving in the military defending our freedom. It’s also a time to remember loved ones, friends and family who have passed.

I’ve had a renewed sense of patriotism since a recent trip to Washington, D.C. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid. If you haven’t been in a while, I recommend it, and I predict you’ll find the experience good therapy to help cleanse yourself of all the negative news coming out of our nation’s capital on a daily basis. I was in awe after my visit. The history reminds you of how much we have to be thankful for.

Among the things I’m thankful for is the Indy 500, a true treasure of our city. On this 100th anniversary of the first running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, there is renewed excitement (and revenue) for the most important race in history.

What would Indianapolis be like without the tradition of the Indianapolis 500 every Memorial Day weekend? I can’t imagine it. What one event has put Indianapolis on the world stage more than the Indy 500? It doesn’t exist.

The contributions of the Hulman George family and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the success of this city are enormous. And the events produced by the 500 Festival folks and volunteers help make the month of May much more than the race itself.

There’s been much looking back during this month’s celebration. IBJ columnist Bill Benner has been identifying his list of the top 33 drivers over the past two weeks. In this issue, he tackles the greatest moments in 500 history.

IBJ reporter Anthony Schoettle reports regularly on the happenings at the Speedway and in motorsports in general. Anthony just reported on his blog, The Score, that Speedway CEO Jeff Belskus said, “This is the best year we’ve had in terms of ticket sales in at least five years.” That is great news. I hope the Speedway can build for years to come on the momentum created by the centennial celebration.

Back in the day, this town all but shut down, workwise, during the month of May for race-related activities. Granted, that was back when there were two weeks of practice and two weekends of qualifications. The big scramble in the business community was sorting through the suite and tent-party invitations and deciding where you were going to be on a given day. Everyone was at the track. If you wanted to get any business done in May, that’s where you needed to be. It’s nice to have some of that buzz back.

On race day, the Speedway folks know how to keep the true meaning of Memorial Day at the forefront of their presentation. The patriotic music played by the marching bands, the pageantry of the color guard, the playing of Taps, the prayer, the flyover … all give you chills as you bear witness.

And, I can’t help it, but hearing Jim Nabors sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” makes me proud to be a Hoosier every time.

Congratulations to the Hulman George family and the Speedway on the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. Here’s a toast to continued success for another hundred years. I wish you a day without rain and a safe and exciting race!

And on Memorial Day, the day after that sun-drenched race, we should all express our gratitude to those who not only gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country, but also for all those veterans who have served in the past and those who are serving now.•


Morris is publisher of IBJ. His column appears every other week. To comment on this column, send e-mail to gmorris@ibj.com.


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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?