By Brig. Gen. James Bonner and Command Sgt. Maj. James Breckinridge
On July 4, we will celebrate the 244th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence.
Our founders dreamed of a nation where all people are treated equally. Today, the men and women of the Department of Defense strive to make their dreams a reality. Today at Fort Leonard Wood, we train service members to fight and win our nation’s wars, support these ideals and protect the American way of life.
We thank America’s sons and daughters who have answered the call to service and who protect and defend these ideals. We also thank our families for sharing their loved ones with us.
Over the holiday weekend, safety is our utmost priority. Although fireworks are not authorized for personal use on the installation, they will inevitably be a part of celebrations. If you plan to use fireworks, ensure that you read their warning labels and educate yourselves on their proper deployment. Keep a safe distance from all vegetation, buildings, vehicles, people and pets, and maintain awareness of dry or windy conditions. Most importantly, alcohol does not have a place in shooting fireworks.
With continued concerns about COVID-19, we urge all of you to continue taking preventative measures. Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and local orders at all times, including General Order No. 3. Stay informed on existing COVID-19 hotspots, especially if you plan to travel over the weekend.
Independence Day tragically ranks as America’s deadliest holiday to drive. If you must travel, stay within the 60-mile radius, 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 and have a plan to get home that separates driving from alcohol.
You are all essential members to the Fort Leonard Wood team. Lead by example and hold each other accountable so that we all enjoy the holiday safely. Have a plan for whatever surprises may cross your path.
We are proud to serve with you and hope you have a safe and relaxing holiday!
Happy Birthday, America!
Victory Starts Here…Victory Through Skill!
(Editor’s note: Bonner is the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general. Breckinridge is the MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood command sergeant major.)