Indianapolis War Memorials. I had no expectations for my long weekend in Indianapolis. I was attending a workshop for travel bloggers called BlogHouse. As a former resident of Chicago, I had passed through Indianapolis over the years for the occasional work trip or social event, but had never formed an opinion in regard to the city. (Except a very warm feeling when my Patriots beat the Colts on a very cold Sunday night in Indy.)
Throughout my stay in the capital, I was continually surprised on the upside. Besides the world famous Indy 500, Indianapolis’s cup runneth over with museums, festivals, sporting events, restaurants, and an awesome zoo. There is an incredible amount of green space in Indy resulting in an eminently walkable city. But what grabbed my attention was Indianapolis’s patriotic spirit.
Indianapolis devotes more acreage than any other U.S. city to honoring our nation’s fallen, and is second only to Washington, DC, in the number of war memorials.
On a perfect Sunday afternoon, I broke out my Google Maps on my iPhone to partake on an impromptu photo tour of some of Indy’s memorials.
Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Soaring nearly 300 feet, the State Soldiers and Sailors Monument, serves as Indy’s most visible and well known landmark. This impressive structure, completed in 1902, can be found in Monument Circle, the center of Indianapolis. This monument is dedicated to the common soldier and is recognizing the sacrifice by Hoosier soldiers in the American Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican-American War, American Civil War, and the Spanish-American War. The interior includes both a museum and an observation deck. The exterior showcases notable sculptures of military figures and scenes from war The architect who designed the memorial was selected through an international competition for best design that ended in 1888. Bruno Schmitz, a German, was selected as the winner in this blind contest.
Indiana World War Memorial
This edifice constructed of Indiana limestone is an imposing neoclassical structure which towers over two hundred feet. The Memorial sits on one of the far ends of the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza. The cornerstone was laid by General John Pershing in 1927. A 24 foot bronze statue, Pro Patria, stands sentry at the entry of the Memorial. Inside the Memorial is a museum and the impressive Pershing auditorium which calls for exploration. On the top floor is the soaring Shine Room, a solemn memorial honoring those Hoosiers who fell in World War I. A giant US flag bathed in blue light cascades down from the ceiling protecting the Altar of Consecration. Portraits of allied military leaders are placed on the outer walls, located under a marble frieze depicting WWI battle. The Shrine served as an opportunity for reflection for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Next to the Indiana World War Memorial is the Veterans Memorial Plaza also known as Obelisk Square. A 100 foot black granite obelisk anchors the plaza with a surrounding fountain. Four panels on the obelisk represent the nation’s fundamentals: law, science, religion, and education.
USS Indianapolis Memorial
Years ago, I had read the book In Harm’s Way which provides an account of 900 sailors who struggled for their life after a Japanese submarine sank their ship in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. The book shares the unbelievable fight for survival as the sailors waited for four days fighting sharks, hypothermia, and dementia as they floated in the ocean desperately waiting for help. In Indy, on the Canal Walk is a modest memorial honoring those who perished on this ship. Only 317 men survived this calamity, which was the last ship to sink in WWII.
Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial
Also, located on the Canal Walk is the Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial. A series of 27 aqua-colored glass panels pay tribute to the 3,456 Medal of Honor recipients. The walls highlight 15 different conflicts over time where recipients were awarded the Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor recognizes US military service members who distinguished themselves with acts of valor. The first medals were presented to solders in the American Civil War. Daily at dusk, a recoding is played sharing stories of past recipients.
Where To Stay
I stayed three nights at the JW Marriott Indy. The location was great, either being able to walk or take a quick Uber to many places like the zoo, museums, or the Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The rooms are spacious with incredibly comfortable beds. And check out the delicious meatball quesadillas at the bar. I ate two of them.
Indianapolis War Memorials.
Disclosure: I was an invited guest of Visit Indy and BlogHouse. The opinions shared are my own. If you order from Amazon, I will earn a fee.