Indiana State Fair Resumes After Memorial Service
“Our first love, our first concern is with our neighbors, and our first job is to get back to the business of living.”
These were some of the words Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels delivered during a half-hour memorial service held today near the mangled remains of a stage that had collapsed on Saturday night in Indianapolis. The stage had been set up for a concert by band Sugarland, and crowds were awaiting the band’s arrival onstage when a strong gust of wind tore through the fairgrounds and blew the steel scaffolding and stage down onto the front rows of the waiting crowd.
“There was a hero every 10 feet Saturday night,” said Gov. Daniels, recalling the hundreds of shocked people who rushed to the destruction even as the dust was still settling, pulling and lifting whatever they could to release trapped concertgoers.
Over 40 people were injured in the collapse, and five have died thus far from their injuries. Doctors are concerned that due to the severity of some injuries, others might be added to the final tally of those who have died from this tragedy.
The memorial service was also led by Lt. Governor Becky Skillman, who stood on a stage lined with freshly picked sunflowers and told the crowd of hundreds that the selfless spirit of those that heroically acted to help “is and will continue to be the silver lining in times of disaster.” The names of the five dead were read aloud, as the crowd joined together to sing “Amazing Grace.”
In keeping with Gov. Daniels’ words, the Indiana State Fair resumed as much of its schedule as it could. A fireworks display, set for the final evening’s festivities, is now cancelled. While Janet Jackson’s website has pulled the Fair from her tour list, other acts such as Maroon 5 and Train are still slated to perform in Indianapolis on August 18.
After the collapse, Sugarland tweeted the following message to their followers:
Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials are investigating why the stage collapsed. Others have begun questioning why the concert was not cancelled after weather reports of severe thunderstorms and wind gusts of almost 80 mph were reported in the area prior to the stage collapsing.
Stage tragedy photo courtesy CBC News.