Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon was honored at a public memorial service at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Sunday, following the late driver's funeral on Saturday.
Wheldon's family were joined by IndyCar drivers and officials, music stars and a large public crowd to remember and celebrate his life. On a stage adorned by the Borg-Warner Trophy, two bottles of milk to signify his two Indy triumphs and the IRL championship trophy he won in 2005, tributes were paid to the 34-year-old.
"At first, Dan was pretty much the little brother we didn't want," Dario Franchitti, his former teammate and close friend said. "And now, we would do anything to have him back. We miss you D-Dub."
Another former teammate Tony Kanaan said: "I love him like a brother. I'm grateful for the time we got to spend with him on Earth.
"Although that time here is done, our time together is not over. We have our memories. We have our feelings. And one day we will be together again. For that reason, I'm not saying goodbye to Dan. Not today. And not ever. Goodbye is final, and our friendship won't end. So for now, I'm simply saying I'll see you later. I love you."
Fans were able to participate by signing banners in Conseco Fieldhouse, leaving condolences and memories. Hundreds of fans signed two large banners that will be given to Wheldon's wife, Susie, who attended the ceremony but did not speak.
Some of the Indianapolis community's most prominent organizations including the NFL Colts, and NBA's Pacers, sent floral arrangements. A few fans wore Wheldon No. 4 shirts from his days with Panther Racing, and others delivered flowers, contributed to the family trust fund or dropped off personal mementoes.
“Thank you for the many wonderful memories,” Rebecca Nix wrote on a folded flag with a photo of Wheldon pinned to it.
The day was full of emotion, from the moment of silence organizers observed in honor of MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli, who was killed Sunday in a crash at Malaysia, to a farewell song by Garth Brooks, “The Dance.”