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The Veterans Day observance this weekend honors the heroism, sacrifice and contributions of the men and women, past and present, who serve in America’s Armed Forces. It was named “Armistice Day” in 1919 and changed to Veterans Day in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

It is uplifting to see the many activities planned by our local communities and businesses to celebrate veterans. Parades, tribute ceremonies and service member discounts are some of the ways our neighbors express thanks to those who wear the uniform. Reflect on this and the day itself. Take time to reflect on the sacrifices made by brave men and women in uniform, and their or your service to this nation.

No greater tragedy could befall our military community than to lose a valued warrior, civilian employee or family member. Throughout the holiday season, if you find yourself on the road visiting friends or family, make sure to have a safe plan for your trip.

I ask that all leaders, directors and supervisors place emphasis on ensuring our personnel are equipped with a functional understanding of risk management. Utilizing proper risk management both on and off duty can result in decreased accidents and injuries.

Leaders also should focus on factors that contribute to vehicle accidents, such as speed, alcohol consumption, driving while fatigued or distracted, and the adverse driving conditions that come with the increasing cold and rainy weather. Remember to adjust your driving to the weather conditions and be prepared for the unexpected. 

Check your car battery, antifreeze levels, tire treads and windshield wipers. Ensure your vehicle has an emergency kit consisting of at least a flashlight, jumper cables, shovel, snow brush, blanket and warning devices such as flares.

Thank you for your service and all you do for our Army and the nation. Your commitment and dedicated service makes it possible for everyone to reflect during this holiday and ensures our Army’s readiness today and in the future. As you sit down with your loved ones this weekend, remember to stay safe and keep the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians deployed across the globe in your thoughts.

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