(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — On the last Monday of May, our country observes Memorial Day to honor the lives of the men and women who died while serving our nation. We can never repay their sacrifice, but we can take time to remember them and preserve their legacy.

Memorial Day also marks the unofficial start of summer. Children finish the school year, temperatures increase, and pools and other outdoor activities begin to open to the public. While you enjoy opportunities like these with friends and loved ones, stay vigilant and keep safety in mind at all times.

Operating any vehicle — whether private motor vehicle, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, boats or other watercraft — requires knowledge of laws, training and personal protective equipment. Know the hazards associated with the activities you are planning and apply risk management to all that you and your families plan to accomplish. With any vehicle, do not drive distracted, tired, or under the influence. Drinking alcohol before or while driving any motorized vehicle is illegal, and it contributes to an estimated 30 to 40 percent of both vehicular and drowning deaths. Across the force, private motor vehicle deaths are on the rise. We ask for your continued engaged leadership in speaking to your teams about their plans for the holiday.

The risk for heat injuries dramatically increases in the summer. Be aware of your bodies and watch for signs of heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat strokes. Staying adequately hydrated is the best way to prevent heat injures, so drink plenty of water, follow appropriate work-rest cycles, and make sure your friends, family and the people in your care do the same.

Although some restrictions have loosened recently, remember that COVID-19 is still a concern to our people and readiness. Follow all federal, state and local guidelines. We encourage you all to get vaccinated when an opportunity presents itself to protect yourself, your teams and our missions.

We hope you are able to be with loved ones sometime over the long weekend. We also encourage you to join the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. on May 31, if possible, to reflect upon those who have given all in service. We are very proud to serve with you.

Victory Starts Here — Victory Through Skill!