Years ago, I was traveling to Saratoga Springs, New York for the races and detoured to visit historical sites in the Hudson Valley, including the United States Military Academy.

As I strolled through the West Point Cemetery, deep in thought as I read the names etched on the monuments, many of them famous, I came across an especially memorable tombstone.  It identified the burial site of Major General Edwin White Sr. and his sons Lt. Colonel Edwin White II (the first astronaut to walk in outer space) and Major James White.

The siblings had been killed in service to the United States.  Lt. Colonel White was lost in the fire in the preflight training accident for NASA’s Apollo program in 1967, along with two other astronauts, and Major White’s plane went down in Laos in 1969 during the Vietnam War.  I wondered how much grief one family can endure.

On Memorial Day, General White’s sons and countless other men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice are who we honor.  Ordinary citizens who left the mortal life too soon at farflung places like Lexington Green, Gettysburg, Normandy, and Afghanistan.

Memorial Day weekend is a time to put aside partisanship and animosities that so divide us as a nation and to remember that the cherished freedoms we Americans tend to take for granted come at the steepest price possible.

Racing fans, have a blessed Memorial Day weekend.

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  1. Beautiful.