Celebrate smartly on Memorial Day

Commander's Column

Garrison Commander Col. Tom Rickard

On Monday — May 29 — we will recognize Memorial Day and trace its origins to a decree issued three years after the Civil War to “decorate the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.”

The tradition evolved to become Memorial Day and has since increased its focus to include a National Moment of Remembrance, prescribed by presidential resolution in 2000.

At exactly 3 p.m. on Memorial Day each year, all Americans are called to pause “whatever they may be doing for one minute of silence or listening to Taps.”

Let us set the example for future generations and respect those who have given their last full measure in devotion to our nation. Let us remember our fallen comrades and their families. Let us never forget.

As we honor our fallen this weekend, many of us will celebrate our freedoms with family and friends, often at distant locations. These celebrations too often meet with tragic results due to fatal accidents.

Today’s Safety Expo, hosted by Kirk Fechter and the Installation Safety Office, will be held at the Pavilion near the Llewellyn Avenue gate, offering a superb venue to reinforce clear thinking about force protection and provide innovative ways of preserving our workforce.

Visit the Safety Expo between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. today, enjoy a free lunch and find better ways to protect your workforce and family.

Beyond safety, please think in terms of force protection. Fort Meade is home to many one-of-a-kind organizations conducting operations every day from this post. The specialized skill sets of our workforce take time, talent and resources to develop, but only an instant of texting behind the wheel to destroy.

Each member of our workforce has an important function. It takes many years to recruit and develop the special talent demanded of our special organizations. Your intelligence, information and cyber operations skills are invaluable to our national defense. Take an aggressive approach to protecting our force by planning ahead and demonstrating personal discipline.

Threats are active in our community. Some are domestic criminals; some are state and non-state actors seeking information through digital and physical contact with our workforce.

Sloppy social media practices, excessive drinking, gambling compunctions and undisciplined conversations provide these threats with unnecessary opportunities. If you see something, say something.

Please consider the free “Fort George G. Meade app,” available for download on your personal smartphone, allowing us to notify authorities quickly of hazards, potholes, suspicious behavior and other issues. The app also keeps us instantly informed of community events, traffic conditions and notifications affecting our post.

We enjoy an excellent quality of life and experienced some outstanding community events this month at Fort Meade including the Baltimore Orioles Youth Baseball Clinic, Officers’ Spouses’ Club and Enlisted Spouses’ Club scholarship awards, Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band concert, Run to Honor 5K/10K races, and the 31st Annual Massing of the Colors and and Memorial Day Remembrance.

This weekend, 10 of our service members will take the field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and join the Baltimore Orioles for the national anthem before the first pitch of the game is thrown by a U.S. Cyber Command Marine.

Please take time this weekend to honor our fallen and maintain situational awareness. Let us enjoy our freedoms and celebrate life, but let us be worth the praise of our fellow citizens in our conduct and discipline.

We have an incredibly supportive community and a wonderful installation. Fort Meade is the home of our nation’s best!

Team Meade!

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