The Indiana State Fair. What does it mean to you? For me, it has always meant driving with my Mom and older sister to the fairgrounds to see if our 4-H projects got the coveted blue ribbon. It meant gorging on elephant ears and lemon shake-ups. It meant sticking my fingers between the poles of the animals cages to, hopefully, pat the nose of the prize-winning steer. It meant summer was about to end, school was about to start and days at the fair were my last “hoorah” to have fun, be a kid and try not to throw-up on the Scrambler (which I never was able to do…I always got sick.)
In light of the recent tragedy that happened at the Indiana State Fair, it breaks my heart to relive the awful moments of the rigging being swept away by that powerful gust of wind. I will never be able to watch that footage without a tug in my heart and a gasp in my mouth. I have been avoiding the local news coverage and the finger pointing to keep my mind clear and remember what happened is less about “the fault of another” and more about honoring those innocent lives that were lost at my dear state fair.
Tragedies happen. They are never pretty and they are often the notion that keep us awake at night and reminds us to hold our friends and family closer than ever before. However, what isn’t tragic and is amazingly beautiful about what happened Saturday is the amount of people, without a second thought, who came running to aid those trapped and in desperate need of a helping hand.
Is this the Hoosier way? Definitely. Is it something I am proud of? Absolutely. Am I surprised? Absolutely not.
Many out-of-state people scoff at the notion of Indiana. Born and raised in this state, I will always embrace my Indiana roots. I know what all four H’s of 4H are (if you don’t know…look it up). My family comes from a long line of farmers and I have spent many summers shucking corn and snapping beans. I know all the words to “Back Home Again in Indiana.” I went to Purdue and the IU rivalry runs deep in my heart. I miss the corn in July if it isn’t around me. I have experienced tornadoes in January and droughts in August. I love the excitement of May and have been to every Indianapolis 500 (except for a couple) since I was in elementary school. I know what “Hoosier Hospitality” means and I try to live up to that notion every day of my life.
Whether you were born in Indiana or are a brand new resident, whether you have been here for 50 years or a a few months, I think one thing is very obvious to the nation and to everyone that knows the pleasure of living in this great state/city… Hoosiers are about helping and holding up the community when tragedy strikes.
Let’s keep this in mind and remember to honor those that are no longer with us. Stop the finger pointing and keep their memories alive…it’s the Hoosier way.
Until next time,