ANSBACH, Germany (Jan. 16, 2014) -- On Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, we will stand down to honor an American whose words stirred the conscience of our Nation, shattered mistaken beliefs, inspired us to change unjust laws, and reminded us of the principles on which our nation was founded -- that all men are created equal with certain unalienable rights.In the summer of 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. went to the U.S. Capitol and spoke the words, "I have a dream," sharing his vision of an America where the dignity of every person is respected, where people are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, and where the hope of a better tomorrow is in every neighborhood. His vision of America touched the hearts and souls of men and women across the nation and continues to inspire generations of Americans and others around the globe. As we honor the memory of Dr. King, let us recommit to fulfilling the dream that has been inextricably linked to America's destiny.Dr. King was also an advocate of safety. He believed that every worker was entitled to a safe and healthy workplace. He supported regulations and laws that guaranteed the safety of migrant farmhands and the workforce. As we stand down to celebrate this great American's birthday, let us keep safety in mind whether you plan to travel, ski or stay close to home. Don't let an accident ruin your holiday. Here are some practical tips to ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones.Whether you plan on sightseeing or taking a mini-vacation to explore Europe, use the Army Travel in Risk Planning System ( to help make your travel plans. Inspect and prepare your vehicle for the trip. Pack clothing that allows you to dress in layers, but pack lightly as you may have to carry the luggage some distance. Get plenty of rest before taking off. On the road, drive defensively. Tell your neighbor or coworker your travel plans and how to reach you in the event of an emergency.Always ski with a friend. If you get separated, designate a meeting place and time to regroup. Wear protective headgear and eye protection while skiing. Stay on the trail and respect your limits. Take a break when you are tired. Remember that skiers who are in front of you and below you on the trail have the right-of-way. Stay focused, as accidents happen more readily when we are distracted.Do not let your guard down because you are staying at home. Improperly maintained fireplaces or furnaces can have deadly results. Slips, trips, and falls remain a threat, and you must be careful when walking. If you plan on being outdoors for a long time, take rest breaks periodically and consume water to avoid dehydration. Dress appropriately for the weather and watch out for your family's, friends' and pets' outdoor safety. Always be aware of potential risks in your surroundings and take appropriate precautions.As you celebrate Dr. King's legacy, remember you are part of the Army team. With you we are stronger, more capable and more resilient. You are also part of our Ansbach family. Enjoy your time off but return to us healthy and ready to move forward in executing the mission.