ARLINGTON, Va. -- The founders of this great Nation, representing the original thirteen colonies of the USA, signed the most important document in our Nation's history 238 ago.

On the Fourth of July, we commemorate the Declaration of Independence as a statement of our values and beliefs and enthusiastically celebrate its signing as the beginning of our heritage.

President John Adams wrote, "I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other."

While celebrating, it's fitting to remember our Soldiers and civilians who gave their lives to protect our hard-won liberties: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These patriots gave their utmost for a cause; don't give up yours in a moment of reckless behavior. Keep a watchful eye out for each other and talk about travel plans, designate drivers when necessary and watch out for the risks associated with summer's recreational activities such as swimming, water sports, boats, and personal watercraft. These activities can turn deadly when combined with alcohol and/or drugs.

Ensure your vehicles are in good operating condition, drive defensively, and maintain situational awareness. Unsafe use of automobiles and motorcycles continues to be the number one killer of Soldiers, civilians, and Family members.

Sarah and I hope you enjoy your holiday and the rest of the summer without taking unnecessary risks.

Support and Defend!

Defender 6
LTG Rick Lynch, Commanding General