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Let’s not forget what this weekend is truly about

By admin | May 23, 2009

By Richard Allen

The Coca-Cola 600 is a great event. NASCAR’s longest race is one that fans and competitors look forward to every year. The race is made even more special because it is held in Charlotte, the heart of stock car racing country.

The Indianapolis 500 is a great event. The world’s most famous automobile race has a tradition unlike any other in the world of sports. It is an event that competitors dedicate their entire professional lives to.

This weekend is also regarded as the beginning of the summer season. There will be trips to lakes, beaches and pools. There will be barbeques and picnics. Yard work and gardening will take place all over America in these next couple of days.

With all of that going on it is sometimes easy to forget why all of these things are allowed to happen.

We have the freedom to watch racing, eat on checkered picnic blankets and work freely in our gardens because many men and women were willing to lay down their lives to protect the freedoms this country has enjoyed for over 230 years.

Memorial Day has been set aside to remember those who sacrificed their lives for the rest of us. In all, just over 650,000 have died in service to this country.

Sadly, many will simply enjoy a day off from work and give the meaning of the day little thought. This day has somehow devolved into a day for car dealers to have a special sale and for shoppers to find extra value at the local strip mall. Somehow, those things are supposed help honor fallen heroes.

And to complicate matters, many cannot seem to distinguish the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day was set aside to remember those who have died in service. Veterans Day was created to remember those who have served and remain with us. I heard a car dealer on the radio the other day who did not seem to know the difference. He announced that his dealership was offering an additional $500 off the price of cars for military veterans and current personnel.

We as Americans should count everyday as a Veterans Day of sorts. We should be honoring those we have in our presence 365 days a year. But for this one day a year, we ought to pay special homage to those who were lost.

In the movie “Saving Private Ryan” a scene takes place that should apply to every one of us. As he lays dying, Captain John Miller(played by Tom Hanks) urges Private Ryan(Matt Damon) to “Earn this”, meaning to make his life worthy of the sacrifice others have made on his behalf. We should all strive to “Earn this” daily.

Enjoy this wonderful weekend, but please keep in mind the true meaning of Memorial Day. It will make everything you do seem even more special.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

One Response to “Let’s not forget what this weekend is truly about”

  1. morgan ward Says:
    May 24th, 2009 at 7:05 am


    Thank you for such a passionate, articulate article! As a retired US Army veteran I appreciate your pointing out the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

    I was displeased yesterday as the USURPER Commander in Chief Hussain Obama failed to honor the last full measure of Sacrifice by our soldiers yesterday in his radio and internet address. Of course he honored Veterans having not known the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Also this was very disingenious as he had recently stated that veterans were potential terrorists, as well as tried to have us pay for our war wounds. It really offends me that there are so many ignorant people who walk among us in this society who have no clue as to our heritage and the honor and courage of our military..

    I am also glad that you took the time to honor those who died in defense of our nation and to give the true meaning of Memorial day.

    I would like to extend my prayers to the families of those who have lost sons and daughters in their service to our Nation. We as a Nation honor their sacrifice on this Memorial Day.

    It always pleased me in all the years of my military service to be involved with NASCAR and to have known I was always honored and supported by the racing community.

    May God richly Bless those who have sacrificed their Lives for each of us.