Founded July 4, 1776, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, America will celebrate its 237th birthday Thursday.

July 4th marks the anniversary of our nation's independence. As you take time to reflect on the individual liberties for which the founders of our great nation fought and died, let us remember that freedom isn't free. It was bought at a very high price.

Many of you will have an opportunity to spend the holiday in your leisure.

Our men and women in uniform will continue to complete their mission around the world.

Here on the installation, some of our organizations will continue with operations as usual, throughout the holiday weekend.

The Directorates of Public Works and Engineering and Quality employees will perform preventive maintenance and repairs on facilities and equipment that can't be accomplished during normal operating hours.

The Directorate of Emergency Services' mission essential personnel will work around the clock. And we still have depot volunteers deployed to various locations abroad.

I encourage you to enjoy your time off, but remember the July 4th holiday is also a time of increased accidents. Safety is paramount here on the depot and it should be a priority as you go about your plans with family and friends. Don't forget the risks that may be mixed in with fun.

Remember to inspect the grill before firing it up, supervise children when near or using fireworks, wear life vests when boating, buckle up when in automobiles, obey the speed limit, don't be distracted by electronic devices, and don't drink and drive. These simple acts could save a life.

The skills you employ and the work that you perform on a daily basis is critical. Our warfighters are depending on us to supply them with the equipment needed while standing in defense of our nation. It is holidays like these that commemorate the freedoms and independence we share as Americans.

Enjoy your time off and look out for one another. We'll see you on the 8th!