The American workforce is one of the most dedicated in the world and a cornerstone of our national defense. Indeed, the innovative spirit of men and women engaged in countless occupations across the country has helped sustain our Army for generations, both during peacetime and at war. Please join us in thanking them this Labor Day for all they do.

While eagerly awaited, long weekends such as this one reinforce the critical importance of standards - especially off duty, where Army fatalities are up 15 percent from this time last year. Further, more than a thousand accidents have been reported across the Army since just April 1, mostly off duty Class C and D mishaps that, given another inch or a few more seconds, could easily have resulted in tragedy. As a standards-based institution, this should be a sobering statistic.

Each one of our Soldiers and Civilians is critical to our mission, and every loss impacts our readiness and our mission.

Do what you know is right by following established standards this weekend. We wish you and yours a happy holiday!