Command message
Col. Christopher M. Benson, U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach and Franconia Military Community commander, wishes USAG Ansbach, Bamberg and Schweinfurt a happy, safe holiday season.

ANSBACH, Germany (Dec. 19, 2013) -- At the close of the year, the days have shortened, the nights have lengthened, and cold weather has settled over Franconia. The cold and dark, however, are only physical conditions, and for many the holiday season represents the warmest, brightest time of year.

This is especially true of the close-knit communities at the garrison level in Europe. I admire the individual strength I see every day within our communities, and am also impressed by the collective strength of our community. Neighbors and loved ones throughout our garrisons help each other through difficult times. Even during good times, everyone knows their Army Family will help them should they need it.

If you know of a fellow community member -- Soldier, family member or civilian -- who is alone this season, show them the warmth our communities are known for. Invite them over for Christmas dinner. Find out what they are doing New Year's Eve. Everyone in our community is part of our Army Family.

The Franconia Military Community is a place we can take strength and comfort, but we are also guests of one of the friendliest nations in the world. If you have yet to see one of Germany's Christmas markets, visit one and immerse yourself in the rich culture of our host nation. During my time here, I've found the German people to be extremely friendly and hospitable no matter what time of year. Be sure to take time to meet your German neighbors and share the Holiday Spirit with them.

The time around Christmas and New Year's Day is a time of social activities and celebrations with Family and friends, but there is also an increased risk of accidents and injuries.

Social events should be about the company you share, not the liquid you drink. If you drink alcohol, drink responsibly. If hosting a holiday party, set the example by acting responsibly and ensure everyone gets home safely. Have the number of a taxi on hand for guests. Remember that no one who has been drinking should get behind the wheel!

If you're looking for fireworks, visit a city's New Year's event where professionals handle the risk. Be careful of irresponsible behavior and stray fireworks. Remember, fireworks on-post are prohibited!

Leaders and first-line supervisors can make a difference during the Holiday Season. When you practice and teach others safety and risk mitigation, you save lives. Ensure you and your teammates incorporate risk management into your plans.

It is my sincere hope you make the most of this time of the year and that you celebrate the Holidays responsibly so all of us can ring out 2013 safely and successfully bring in 2014. Happy Holidays!

Page last updated Thu December 19th, 2013 at 00:00