By COL James E. Saenz, commander, U.S. Army Garrison BavariaNovember 26, 2013
Bavaria Military Community Teammates,
For nearly 147 years, Americans from diverse backgrounds have gathered together the last Thursday of November to give thanks for past and present blessings and those yet to come.
It is one of the ironies of history that the Thanksgiving holiday was officially established in the midst of our Nation's bloodiest conflict, the Civil War. Just as Abraham Lincoln and his Union troops did all those years ago, our Army will once again pause and reflect on the meaning of giving thanks during a time of sustained war.
Please know that each of you -- Soldiers, Family members and Civilians -- is a blessing to our Army and our Nation, and we remain thankful and indebted to you for your service and sacrifice. Thank you for what you do every day. Our people are the strength of our Army, and our Army is stronger with you in it.
As you take advantage of these next few days to visit Family and friends, recharge for the holidays ahead or simply enjoy the downtime of a long weekend, we ask that you always keep safety in mind. Spend a few moments thinking about the risks you might encounter in fulfilling your plans and how you can stay safe in everything you do.
Also remember to look out for your buddies, especially as we embark on the emotionally charged holiday season. Every Soldier is a leader, so make the right choices for yourself, your Family, your friends and peers. Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year, so if a road trip is part of your holiday plans, please be sure to think ahead about potential hazards on the highway. Weather conditions change rapidly this time of year. Some areas have already received their first winter storm. Make a plan, be prepared for the unexpected and check in with your buddies to ensure they arrive at their destinations safely.
When you celebrate with family and friends, remember to celebrate responsibly -- designate a driver or call a cab when you or your friends have had too much to drink. We all have an obligation to stay safe, whether on duty or off, and it's especially important we remind each other of this responsibility during our time off.
For many, quality time will be spent gathered around the time-honored American tradition of Thanksgiving turkey. As you do so, remember that somewhere there are young Soldiers and families new to the Army in their first overseas assignment right now. They'll be in lodging for the holiday and the dining facility for dinner. Welcome them into the Bavaria Military Community family. Ensure the service they receive is world class. Take the time to greet them, to direct them and make them feel valued and wanted in their new garrison community.
Other members of our family, Civilians and Soldiers alike, are deployed. Even far from home, a word of encouragement can make a difference. Some of our Family members may be giving thanks as their Soldiers return from deployment while experiencing stresses related to reintegration at the same time.
To all who provide services on our installations: We're proud to serve with each and every member of this team. You, and the work you do each and every day, is important. It's critical to the lives of the Soldiers, civilians and family members we serve across the Bavaria Military Community.
As you enjoy this Thanksgiving holiday, we hope that it will be a time for thanks, relaxation and renewal. Remember your family and extended Army family as well as battle buddies, co-workers and the person next to you now. Be thankful, as we sincerely are, for their and your service, and commitment to both the Army and this great Nation.
We wish each of you and yours a blessed and safe Thanksgiving.
James E. Saenz
DFAC Thanksgiving: Meal times are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4:30-6 p.m. A continental breakfast will be served from 7-8 a.m.