By DAVID HUNTER
The unofficial kickoff to summer was this past weekend with Memorial Day. However, I believe most people treat it as an extra few days off from work to swim, go to the lake, or have a cookout instead of honoring those USA soldiers who gave their lives, so we can enjoy those freedoms.
I admit I spent last Sunday watching two of the most important motor races here in the United States, the 100th Indianapolis 500 and the Coke-Cola 600 in Charlotte. Besides the fast cars and the awesome action on the track, both the Indy Car Series and the NASCAR Cup Series do the best job of honoring those fallen soldiers during these two races.
For example, during the prerace of the Indy500, a video was shown honoring the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor, which included classic footage of President Franklin Roosevelt's famous speech on the day.
It also included current interviews with those still living military members of those attacks. After the video was over, ABC cut to back to a shot at the speedway with those same soldiers being honored at the yard of bricks on the start finish line. The historical video and event was more emotional than the race itself.
As for the `100th Indy 500, it was another legendary race, which was perfect for the significance of it. However, the rookie winner Alexander Rossi came out of nowhere, and he had just enough fuel to pull off his first career Indy Car series win in the maybe the biggest race in recent Indycar memory. If the race lasted one more lap, Rossi would have ran out of fuel, and a racer from the midstate, Josef Newgarden might have won. Instead the race is 200 laps, and the Hendersonville native finished third.
The second half of the Memorial Day doubleheader was the longest race of the NASCAR Cup Series season, the 600. Martin Truex Jr. put in the most dominate performance in the sport's rich history, while honoring his longtime girlfriend who has been fighting cancer. He led 392 of the 400 laps, including 588 of the 600 miles for his first win of the season.
Granted both races were cool as always since it is my favorite sport, and NASCAR also did an excellent job of honoring the military with paint schemes, and putting the names of some of soldiers on the top of the windshield.
However, my favorite part of the weekend had nothing to do with the motor races instead it was visiting The Healing Field Flag of Remembrance in Murfreesboro.