Ship’s Bell from USS Indianapolis Tolls in Remembrance

The ship’s bell from the USS Indianapolis rang out on the afternoon of May 26, 2023, in remembrance of U.S. Marine Captain Matthew Tomkiewicz, who lost his life on March 18, 2022, near Bodo, Norway, when his aircraft crashed during a NATO training exercise. He was 27 years old. Captain Tomkiewicz, who was born and raised in northeastern Indiana, was one of four killed in the tragedy.

The bell tolling tribute formed part of The American Legion 500 Festival Memorial Service, an event running for more than 60 years to provide a moment of reflection during the hectic racing activities of the Indianapolis 500 weekend. Coinciding with the Memorial Day weekend, the community event in downtown Indianapolis honors the sacrifices made by the brave servicemen and women who perished while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

American Legion National Commander Vincent J. “Jim” Troiola addressed those gathered: “We take this time to remember and honor the men and women who have given their lives for this great country. Let us reflect on their courage, their sacrifice, and their dedication to a cause greater than themselves. And let us recommit ourselves to the cause of freedom, justice, and democracy, so that the legacy of our fallen heroes will live on for generations to come.⁠”⁠

The event featured a Military Funeral Procession, also known as a cortege, presented by the Indiana National Guard Headquarters Ceremonial Unit, and was capped off with a flyover by the Indiana Air National Guard's 122nd Fighter Wing “Blacksnakes.”⁠ 

The solemn silence of a wreath-laying ceremony, dedicated to the memory of all Hoosiers who sacrificed their lives in defense of America, was broken by the reading of the names of those Indiana service members who fell in the theatre of war within the past year. The ship’s bell tolled in their honor.

Cover image: The Indiana National Guard supports The American Legion 500 Festival Memorial Service on the steps of the Indiana World War Memorial by tolling the ship’s bell from the USS Indianapolis on May 26, 2023, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Courtesy: Sgt. Jonah Alvarez, Indiana National Guard.*

*The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.