ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Memorial Day, observed the last Monday of May, represents a day of national awareness and reverence, honoring the military men and women who gave their lives in defense of our nation and its values.

The day is an opportunity for Americans to pay homage to men and women in uniform who died serving our nation.

We must never forget their service.

President John F. Kennedy said, "A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers."

On Memorial Day, we remember and honor the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard service members who gave their all.

It is this day that commemorates the sacrifices of those who proudly served our country.

It is because of them that we enjoy our freedoms.

Let us remember them and our military men and women who continue fighting.

As an active duty Soldier, I have learned to adapt to most situations.

As civilians, I applaud you for your service to our nation and support to our ultimate customer -- the nation's war fighters.

Memorial Day weekend also kicks off the Army's safety campaign, the 101 Critical Days of Summer.

While safety is engrained in our culture here at work, I ask you to take the same approach when away from the depot.

Focus on reducing the causes of accidents, while driving on our nations' roads and highways and while in the comforts of our homes and communities.

I ask you to continue these practices at all times.

Many of you will take to the roads to spend time with family and friends.

Plan ahead, get enough rest before you depart, obey the speed limit, wear seat belts and avoid distracted driving.

Alcohol and driving is a recipe for disaster. Do not drink and drive.

It takes each of you to continue doing what we all must do -- making sure we maintain a high state of readiness to defend our nation -- while equipping our military with the highest quality vehicles, artillery and weapons that they have come to expect.

I appreciate all you do throughout the year. Be safe and enjoy some well-deserved time with family and friends.