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

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — On Monday, our country observes Memorial Day, when we take time to honor the heroes whose lives were lost in service to our nation. It is also a time to reflect on the blessings we have and the lifestyle we are afforded because of their bravery.

As we approach Memorial Day, and as the school year ends, we see weather and conditions that signify summer is coming. Our people begin spending more time outdoors, on the roads and on the water. While you enjoy the beautiful weather and all that the great state of Missouri has to offer, stay vigilant and stay safe. Stay connected with your leadership and never leave a battle buddy behind. Leaders, be sure to talk to your team prior to the weekend and know their plans.

The heat has rapidly increased during the month of May and will remain high for the next several months. During this time period, it is critical you take precautions against the heat. Make sure you have a plan to take breaks if you’re spending long periods in the sun, remain hydrated, and, if you have children or pets, be sure to double check your vehicle and never leave them in your vehicle unattended.

Weather can rapidly change during this time of year, so keep an eye on any updates and have a plan to seek shelter in case of severe weather. Waters can quickly rise after heavy downfalls; be mindful of fast-moving water and never attempt to cross roads submerged by water.

Warm weather means more people will operate all-terrain and utility vehicles, along with motorcycles, personal watercraft and boats. Be sure you are properly trained, licensed or certified on any vehicle that you operate; that you wear proper protective equipment and all in your care do the same; and that you never operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

If you will be shooting firearms recreationally this summer, be sure to follow weapons safety and all laws. Remember the fundamentals of firearms safety and store all weapons not in use in either a safe, a locked case or with a trigger lock engaged.

From fiscal year 2017 to fiscal year 2021, the Army lost an average of eight Soldiers per year to off-duty, water-related activities. Make a plan before you head out. Remember that alcohol impairs decision making, so limit or avoid alcohol consumption while relaxing on the water. If you participate in any type of water-related activity here in the Ozarks, it is important to identify the hazards and to know your limits and those with you.

We hope you enjoy your long weekend. We encourage everyone to join us at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day for the National Moment of Remembrance, as we observe one minute of silence in honor of all who have sacrificed their lives in defense of this great nation. We are very proud to serve with you.

Victory Starts Here – Victory Through Skill!