This Memorial Day weekend, honor our nation's sacrifices, don't neglect your safety
May 20, 2014
ANSBACH, Germany (May 20, 2014) -- Memorial Day is a day set aside in remembrance of America's fallen sons and daughters. Although a solemn time, it is also a time when we reflect on the bravery and heroic actions of the men and women who served in our nation's military during its time of need. For the most part, our nation's military services have been composed of volunteers.
History clearly reflects the men and women of America's military services -- the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen -- have served with distinction and valor when called upon to take arms. From the earlier days of the American Revolution through the turbulent Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and from the Persian Gulf to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, America's sons and daughters continue to serve faithfully and honorably.
On Memorial Day, our nation remembers the more than 1 million men and women who have died in service to our country, the more than 142,000 prisoners of war, reported by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, who endured tremendous hardship so that others may remain free, and those who were declared missing in action whose families and loved ones are still without closure. We also honor our veterans for their courage, sacrifice and dedication to America.
Memorial Day weekend also marks the unofficial start of summer and the official beginning of the Summer Safety Campaign (May 23 to Sept. 3). This year's off-duty safety presentation, "Safety is a Frame of Mind: Get the Picture?" reminds us of the leading causes of accidental death. It also reminds us that we are a family; as such, we must look out for each other at work, home, and play year-round. The Safety Office encourages leaders to download the presentation and discuss the contents with their troops, military and civilian, as no one is immune to becoming a victim of poor planning, carelessness, or inadequate risk assessment. Take a few minutes before the holiday and provide a safety briefing to your team -- it may save a life.
Army accident records reflect that on Memorial Day weekend there is an increase in accidents. In most accidents, someone was in the position to stop it from occurring but failed to act. Remind your team members, if they find themselves in that position, don't hesitate to speak up or act to save a friend from making a costly mistake that could cause him or others harm. Whether they're planning a barbecue, mini vacation, or family outing there is an element of risk. A risk that is not recognized or controlled can ruin summer plans.
Taking the time to review planned activities to eliminate unnecessary risk and mitigate others can make a difference. Look for things (hazards) that could go wrong and identify measures to mitigate the risk associated with the hazard. The Army online tools, GRAT (Ground Risk Assessment Tool) and TRiPS (Travel Risk Planning System), can help identify potential hazards in planned activities and offer suggestions to mitigate the associated risk. They're free and readily available, so please use them to stay safe this summer.
This Memorial Day, take a moment to member America's fallen heroes and celebrate the gift they bestow to us -- freedom. Your fellow Soldiers and Families need you to celebrate freedom responsibly, to always remain vigilant and return refreshed, healthy and ready. Our nation needs you. Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.