FORT SILL, Okla.-- On the 28th of May, we have an opportunity to observe one of our nation's finest traditions.

While Memorial Day typically marks the beginning of summer, the meaning of this holiday is much more somber than the restful and enjoyable days that will follow. Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died while in service to our country. This holiday has a special meaning to those who wear the uniform today, because those who brave the hazards of faraway lands to safeguard freedoms at home have a personal understanding of the sacrifices our service men and women make.

Undoubtedly, virtually every member of Team Sill has a family member or friend who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Beyond that, by virtue of the solemn duty you have sworn to uphold, you have a special connection with those who have died for our country. Therefore, while this holiday provides an opportunity to relax and spend valuable time with friends and family, we also have an obligation to pay our respects to those who gave everything so that we might continue to enjoy our holidays.

As you observe this meaningful holiday, I remind you to make safety planning a part of every event. While you and your family and friends enjoy time together this weekend, be mindful of the threat of severe weather. Additionally, ensure that you plan long trips carefully and have a plan to safely operate all manner of motor vehicles. Motorcycle and other vehicular accidents remain the number one killer of our military, even as we are a nation at war.

Leaders will conduct season appropriate safety training prior to departing for the weekend. Each Soldier, sailor, Marine, airman, civilian and family member is a valuable part of Team Sill. We need each of you back, ready to continue the honorable legacy of those who have come before us.

Please take some time this weekend to reflect on the tremendous accomplishments and sacrifices made by hundreds of thousands of men and women in the name of freedom. For those of you remaining in the area for the holiday, I look forward to seeing you at our Memorial Day ceremony at McNair Hall, Monday morning at 11:50 a.m. Enjoy your well-deserved break, but do so safely and responsibly.

Team Sill, Fires Strong!

Mark McDonald
Major General, USA

Page last updated Thu May 24th, 2012 at 14:10