Services Today for Late Indiana Governor
Sep. 19, 2003
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ From racing in a soapbox derby as a young boy to a national governor's conference a few weeks ago, pictures of Frank O'Bannon adorned the Statehouse where thousands of Hoosiers quietly celebrated the late governor's life.
The pictures, displayed Thursday, spanned most of O'Bannon's 73 years of life. Several showed O'Bannon grinning widely while flashing a thumbs-up, something he did often on the campaign trail.
An official state service for O'Bannon was planned for noon Friday at the west steps of the Statehouse where was first inaugurated nearly seven years ago.
The interfaith service was to feature personal touches, such as singing from a barbershop quartet, to official trappings including a 19-round artillery salute and a missing-man formation flyover of fighter jets from the Indiana Air National Guard.
Hundreds were expected, including members of Indiana's congressional delegation and at least seven governors from other states. School children were to escort O'Bannon's wife, Judy, and their family to their seats.
U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepard and Gov. Joe Kernan were to give remarks.
Kernan, who was O'Bannon's lieutenant governor, friend and political partner, was sworn in six hours after O'Bannon died Saturday. He had suffered a massive stroke in a Chicago hotel room Sept. 8.
On Thursday, O'Bannon's official portrait as governor was on display in the rotunda, flanked by a police officer holding a rifle and a firefighter clutching a silver ax. Dozens of police officers and firefighters from across the state rotated honor guard duty every 15 minutes.
Jean Barricklow of Greenfield, who came to the memorial with a photograph she took of O'Bannon and his wife during a chance encounter at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said she was touched by the displays.
``I think it is a wonderful sentiment to a man who was unassuming,'' she said. ``Frank and his wife were what I call ordinary people.''
Another portrait viewing was planned for Saturday in O'Bannon's southern Indiana hometown of Corydon, followed by a memorial service there Sunday.