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

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — 245 years ago, our nation’s founders dreamed of equal treatment for all. In signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, they began to make that dream a reality.

We thank America’s sons and daughters, who have answered the call to serve and who protect and defend our nation’s ideals. We also thank their families for sharing their loved ones with us.

Our service members, civilians, Soldiers for Life and their families are always our No. 1 priority. The diverse team here at Fort Leonard Wood does incredible work every day, and each person is critical to our combined success, so safety is key over the holiday weekend.

Although fireworks are not authorized for personal use on the installation, if you plan to use them in off-post celebrations, ensure you read warning labels and educate yourselves on proper deployment. Maintain awareness of dry or windy conditions, and keep a safe distance from people, pets, vegetation, buildings and vehicles. Adjust your actions according to the environment. Most importantly, alcohol has no place in shooting fireworks.

Success starts with knowing our teammates and helping them understand and manage risk. Having a plan, following it and being a good battle buddy will help keep everyone safe.

Sadly, Independence Day is America’s deadliest day on the road. If you are traveling short or long distances, inspect your vehicles, wear seatbelts and ensure all in your care do the same. If you drive private vehicles, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles or any type of watercraft, please wear personal protective equipment and follow all laws. Avoid driving distracted or tired, do not speed or drive carelessly and designate a sober driver to mitigate the risk from alcohol.

We are also excited to highlight the return of the Fort Leonard Wood Independence Day fireworks show, beginning at 9:30 p.m. on July 4.

We are proud to serve with you.

Happy Birthday, America!

Victory starts here — victory through skill.