Lt. Gen. David Halverson, commanding general, U.S. Army Installation Management Command

Each year, people come together on the Fourth of July to celebrate America's freedom with backyard barbeques, community parades and for some, fireworks. On this occasion, let us remember what the meaning of this day means. President John Adams wrote of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, "I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other."

Many people will celebrate this Independence Day as President Adams intended by attending parades, festivals and fireworks displays and by hosting or attending barbecues. While these events are fun and celebrate the birth of this great nation, they can also be dangerous. CSM Hartless and I want to remind everyone to focus on safety this Fourth of July. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch a public display conducted by professionals. However, if fireworks are legal where you live, parents and caregivers should be especially cautious and never allow children near fireworks.
The holiday may also bring fires and injuries due to outdoor cooking. By taking a few fire safety precautions, you can ensure that everyone enjoys a safe Independence Day. Keep fire pits and barbeque pits away from structures, tents, patio covers or overhanging trees. Keep the fire to a minimum and have a means of extinguishing it nearby. Enjoy the experience with a few precautions.

This year, a number of you will travel to holiday hotspots or visit friends and family. The odds of being involved in an accident are higher during this holiday period. Plan your trip using the Travel Risk Planning System at https://safety.army.mil. Be aware of the risk factors: fatigue, distractions and road conditions. Never text while driving. You are a valued member of our team. Look out for yourself, your family and your buddies. The loss of anyone is a heartbreak. Come home safe.

Finally, the holidays can be stressful. If you find yourself anxious, fearful or depressed, seek help. Your Family, your friends and your co-workers all care. Watch out for each other and remember that you can visit www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/default.asp for additional help.

Every holiday is a chance to get away and recharge your batteries. Get out and have fun. Remember those that founded our great nation -- those that pledged their lives, their fortunes and their honor. CSM Hartless and I are proud of all that you do. Be safe this weekend -- Army Safe is Army Strong.

Army Strong!

LTG David Halverson and CSM Jeff Hartless

Page last updated Mon June 30th, 2014 at 14:25