FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — The American workforce leads our nation, and the world, in innovation, leadership, and perseverance. On Monday, we observe Labor Day to pay tribute to their dedication and sacrifices, which enable the lives we are able to enjoy each day.Fort Leonard Wood could not function without our 6,500 civilian employees. Each one of you plays a vital role in the accomplishment of our training mission, the success of our military and the protection of our freedoms.Labor Day also marks the unofficial end of summer. Our kids are in school, there is a bit less sunlight each day, and we hope for cooler temperatures! I urge you all to take advantage of Labor Day weekend and spend quality time with your friends and family.Over the long weekend, remember to secure yourself first and stay safe.Make sure that you follow the requirements of General Order No. 3 and local governments to mitigate risks of COVID-19. Maintain six feet of social distance, wash your hands regularly and wear a mask when necessary.We are still in the midst of Missouri’s rainy season. Pay attention to the weather and avoid float trips and other outdoor water activities if they coincide with or occur after a storm. Understand that swimming in open water, like a lake, requires more energy and greatly increases the risk of drowning. Wear life jackets and other personal protective equipment when appropriate.As you are out and about, take into account increased traffic, weather and risk factors such as fatigue or distractions. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Obey posted speed limits, always wear seatbelts and ensure all in your care do the same. Use hands-free devices and avoid anything that impairs your ability to drive safely; texting and sleep deprivation raise the risk of motor vehicle accidents. Never drink and drive.Lastly, I ask that everyone — from private to civilian to general officer — work to be involved and reliable battle buddies. Engage, care and build trust among your teams. Be safe, take care of each other and enjoy the long weekend.