As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, instead of focusing solely on grocery shopping, buying all the fireworks, and making sure the grill is ready, let’s take a second and reflect on what this day represents. On July 4, 1776, 13 colonies claimed their independence from Great Britain, laying the groundwork for this great nation that you now selflessly serve. Your service ensures liberty will endure in this great land for many years to come, and I thank you all for your dedication and sacrifice.
Unfortunately, as history tends to repeat itself, this time of year is also the most dangerous period for our Soldiers and results in the greatest number of off-duty mishaps that result in serious injury and even death. As you enjoy time off for the holiday, remember to make risk management an integral part of your plans. Unwinding during holidays and off-duty time is essential to the well-being of both Soldiers and Civilians, but temptations like drinking and driving, speeding on the open road, and deliberately neglecting to wear seat belts prove deadly far too often. Alcohol and water — such as boating or swimming — is an equally tragic combination. Being accountable and disciplined means taking a few moments to think about the consequences of your actions and following through with a plan to ensure the best possible outcome.
As always, visit https://safety.army.mil for tools to help you and your Soldiers manage risk, both on and off duty. The 2023 Off Duty Safety Awareness Presentation was recently released and addresses persistent hazards Soldiers face in their personal time. You may find it and many other risk management tools on our website.
Thank you again for being part of this great Army and defending the freedoms our forefathers fought so hard to make reality. I hope you enjoy this well-deserved break and wish each of you a very happy Fourth of July.
People First - Winning Matters - Readiness Through Safety!
Brigadier General, USA
Independence Day 2023 Message.pdf [PDF - 533 KB]