The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays! It's a celebration of our nation's remarkable history and a celebration of our friends, neighbors, and community. In the United States, families and friends will gather for neighborhood block parties and hometown fireworks, while here in US Army Europe we have the unique opportunity to join our host-nation partners, share in festivities with our community, and demonstrate the pride and patriotism we have for our great nation and our Army.

These holiday celebrations remind us that our Army communities -- our families! -- are the foundation of our success. As we highlight in USAREUR's Campaign Plan, we take care of our people as they arrive and when they leave, we provide healthy working environments, support services, and facilities while ensuring we meet or exceed standards.

During our nation's birthday, I'm reminded of two Army values that epitomize our special Army community: loyalty and respect. Throughout USAREUR, there are thousands of stories of Soldiers, Families, and Civilians, living those values as they come together and help each other out. Whether it's being there to pick up a new family at the airport on their arrival in country, to going above and beyond in caring for a Soldier during deployment, our loyalty to one another is unmatched.

We also can't forget the host nation communities who take care of us when we deploy and provide opportunities for every member of the USAREUR Family to grow and broaden their cultural experiences. A few weeks ago, we celebrated the 70th Birthday of USAREUR and the official naming of our new headquarters, "The Shali Center," at Wiesbaden's Clay Kaserne. As we unveiled our new command center and ushered in the next era of US Army Europe, we again realized that trust cannot be built overnight; and that is one of the reasons we remain here. The respect that we have for our host nations will only continue to grow, and our past experiences together will never be forgotten.

Have a terrific Independence Day, relish in being an American and adhering to our Army's values, and enjoy a safe holiday!

Strong Soldiers, Strong Teams!