On 26 May 2014, we will recognize those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Memorial Day was first officially observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of service members at Arlington National Cemetery. Our command plays an important role in the continuation of this tradition, and we should all take time to remember and honor the men and women that gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy.

Memorial Day also marks the beginning of the summer season. The warm weather and increased travel that many of us enjoy during this timeframe often bring with them elevated risks and, historically, an increase in our off-duty accidents. I encourage all commanders and leaders to use the off-duty safety resource provided at https://safety.army.mil/odsap. This presentation can assist you with briefing your personnel and reinforcing the need to manage risk during this critical season.

I ask all of you to practice risk management and good judgment throughout the summer, especially when using the roadways. Driving vehicles, especially motorcycles, is undoubtedly the most hazardous thing many of us do on a regular basis. The Travel Risk Planning System (https://trips.safety.army.mil) is a mandatory tool that can help manage these hazards. Water-related activities can also involve high risks, and interactive safety resources are available at https://safety.army.mil/SafetyCity/Pages/Water/WaterSafety.aspx. Educating yourself and others on the hazards of summertime activities is an essential first step to ensuring we experience no unnecessary loss this season.

I hope that each of you have a safe summer season and an enjoyable holiday weekend.

MG, US Army