NASCAR Driver Aric Almirola Reminds Fans ‘Freedom Is Not Free’ Ahead of Memorial Day
By Movieguide® Staff
NASCAR star Aric Almirola said that his family’s sacrifice to allow him to live the American dream inspires him in his career.
The 37-year-old Stewart-Haas racer was born at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. His father, Ralph, served at the base after fleeing communist Cuba as a young boy.
“It just made me appreciate the sacrifice, you know, living it firsthand. . . seeing my dad go to work every day and put his uniform on and just really knowing and understanding what that looks like and what that sacrifice really is,” Almirola told The Fox Garage.
In honor of servicemen and servicewomen, NASCAR drivers’ cars will carry the names of fallen veterans in NASCAR’S Memorial Day weekend as they drive the 600 miles of Remembrance at the Coca-Cola 600 on Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“Fortunately for me, my dad is still around. But this weekend, for the 600 Miles of Remembrance, we’re going to take this opportunity to remember the people that paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Almirola said.
Almirola’s race car salutes Master-At-Arms Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL who dove on a grenade to save his squad in 2006. In 2008, Monsoor received the Medal of Honor after his death.
“What a selfless act, and he paid the ultimate sacrifice not only for them to stay alive, but for our freedom, for me and you to get to do what we love to do and live in this great country,” Almirola said.
“It’s just a special event. You know, it’s the longest event. And the stock car racing at 600 miles at Charlotte Motor Speedway, it’s really the test of man and machine, you know, trying to push yourself as a race car driver inside the car for four to four and a half hours, sometimes five hours, depending on how the race plays out,” Almirola said.
Despite looking for his first win of the season, Almirola said he hopes fans’ ultimate takeaway is that the true acts of service and sacrifice are performed by those fighting for American freedom every day.
“I think it’s important that we do this, and I think it’s equally important that we don’t forget that we don’t just celebrate this on Memorial Day and on Veterans Day, that we really take with us throughout the course of a year, that there are men and women fighting for our freedom every single day and we wake up and we drink our coffee and we go about our day with freedom, and we are safe and secure in the greatest country of all, and it’s not free. Our freedom is not free,” Almirola said.