Once again, Virg Hemphill (at left), an Air Force veteran Pilot himself, suggests we take a few moments this weekend to stop and remember those who helped us enjoy the freedoms we tend to take so much for granted.
While this national holiday weekend we affectionately call, MEMORIAL DAY, often involves wonderful family and friend time outdoors, and also possibly joining other loved ones to watch main street downtown parades, or great sporting events, such as the INDY 500,* Virg thinks – and we at the FASF agree – that we should still find or make just a few minutes (his selected video below is precisely 5:34 minutes) to reflect; to remember those young men and women who gave so much that we might enjoy our unparalleled and so widely envied American liberties.
* Remember: Eddie Rickenbacher, great American Fighter Pilot and WWI Ace, started his career racing cars, including at Indianapolis (he later became the famous “500” racetrack’s owner). And who was it that gave him his first airplane ride? None other than Glenn Curtiss, himself once the holder the world’s speed record on a motorcycle that he himself built. Here, below, is a short video (3:53) taken at the Curtiss Museum, of their replica of the Curtiss V-8 engined motorcycle that he rode to such world fame.
Glenn was born in Hammondsport, NY, in 1878. Curtiss was gifted with insatiable curiosity, mechanical ability and great ambition. As his remarkable achievements began to accumulate, this soon became evident. By the time he reached his teens, bicycles and speed had become a near-obsession with the young speed demon.
He was a champion bicycle racer for years, but soon began to progress into designing and building his own motorized machines. By 1902, Curtiss, with three employees, was manufacturing his own motorcycles under the trade name, “Hercules“.
In a measured-mile run at Ormond Beach, Florida, on Jan. 23, 1907, Curtiss’ V8 powered motorcycle was officially clocked at 136.3 mph. On that day, and for years afterward, Glenn Curtiss carried the title, “Fastest Man on Earth“. The engine used in his record-setting motorcycle served as a prototype for what would later be used in the Curtiss Jenny airplanes, the very aircraft that lifted the First Aero Squadron into the skies over Mexico in 1916.