On this Memorial Day, as on so many others in the past, Americas Armed Forces are globally engaged in defense of freedom. On Memorial Day, it is important that we pause to remember and honor those who have fallen so that freedoms torch may continue to burn undimmed by the passage of time.
One way to convey respect is to recognize those who wear the pins identifying them as family members of the fallen. When you see someone wearing a Gold Star or Next of Kin pin, take time to thank them and offer words of encouragement, so they know their service member will never be forgotten.
As we celebrate this holiday and enter the outdoor season with parties and activities, keep in mind your responsibilities to yourself, your battle buddy and your family. While equipment can be replaced, people cannot. The loss of anyone due to a preventable holiday mishap would be a tragedy.
This year, the number of Memorial Day vacationers traveling will increase. The odds of being involved in an accident are higher. Remember the factors that increase your chances of being involved in an accident: fatigue, unsafe following distances, speeding and driving distractions are just a few. Plan your trip using the Travel Risk Planning System at https://safety.army.mil.
When the weather turns warm, everyone wants to be in or around the water. Hanging out at the pool or the beach on a hot day is a great way to beat the heat. Between having fun and checking out the lifeguards, most people dont think much about water safety but they should. For people between the ages of 5 and 24, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death.
Swimming and pool-safety tips are available at www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/water-safety/swim-safety. Too often we take holiday anxiety for granted. We often have higher expectations for this season than for any other time of the year.
Frequently, the realities of day-to-day life conflict with our vacation dreams and stress results. Planning for the holidays can leave us feeling impatient, cranky and in some cases depressed. Watch for signs in your coworkers, too. If you find yourself or someone else needing help, talk to your chain of command or visit www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/default.asp.
This Memorial Day is a great opportunity to unwind. Do so mindfully. Remember those who have given the Final Measure. Command Sgt. Maj. Hartless and I know that each of you is a valued member of our team and are proud of all that you do. Be safe this weekend Army Safe is Army Strong.