INDIANAPOLIS – One of the fireworks bursting above the city this year will contain a bit of cremated remains — a fitting tribute, organizers say, to the man who ran the annual event for 40 years.
Meredith Smith died in February at age 74. About a half-teaspoon of his ashes will be in a fireworks shell that will create a white burst in the sky for the finale of the show, set for Thursday night.
"I can't think of a better way," said family friend Kevin Moss.
He also will be memorialized through hundreds of T-shirts referring to the tribute as "the last shot."
Smith, a school maintenance worker, was a trained pyrotechnician. His widow, Charlotte, said they started the fireworks shows as a community service and sometimes paid for them themselves.
"Meredith felt like the people in this area didn't get the opportunities that other people got, and so he wanted to give them the opportunity," she said.
The release of the ashes shouldn't harm public health, said John Althardt of the Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County.
"I think that whatever a family can do to remember their loved one ... is great," he said.
The fireworks will be shot over the White River.
According to Indiana law, cremated remains may be disposed of on the property of a consenting owner, uninhabited public land or in a waterway.