Wishes for safe, happy Columbus Day weekend

Photoreproduction from Theodor de Bry and Charles de la Roncière, La Floride Française: Scènes de la vie Indiennes, peintes en 1564 [facsimile of the 1564 original (Paris, 1928)]. from the online exhibition. Courtesy of The Library of Congress.
 The landing of Columbus in the New World is celebrated as Columbus Day in the United States, as Discovery Day in the Bahamas, and as Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas) in Belize and Uruguay. In 1792, New York City and other U.S. cities celebrated the 300th anniversary of his landing in the New World, and President Benjamin Harrison called upon the people of the United States to celebrate Columbus Day on the 400th anniversary of the event, as well.

Though people have celebrated Columbus’ voyage since the colonial period, Columbus Day first became an official state holiday in Colorado in 1906, and didn’t became a federal holiday in the United States until 1937. It will be celebrated this year on October 13.

Since Columbus Day is a federal holiday and three-day weekend, many of our Soldiers, Army Civilians, and their Families will take advantage of one of the last opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors before winter sets in. This increases the risk of accidents, and we all need to do our part to keep our Army Family strong and safe.

Many of you have teenaged drivers, and special precautions are warranted. Even though obtaining a driver license is a much more in-depth process than it used to be, state laws may not be enough to fully protect new teen drivers. Household rules about passengers, nighttime driving, and cell phone use can fill gaps in state laws. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed a model of what is known as graduated driver licensing, and additional resources can be found at www.nhtsa.gov/Driving+Safety.

Shorter days and cooler evenings mean fall is here – and this is often the time that we start seeing people sick with flu. By getting a flu vaccine for yourself and your entire family every season, you can help prevent flu-related illness, missed school, and missed work. Also, keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to keep from getting sick and avoid spreading germs to others.

Finally, fall marks the start of football season, and many of you have loved ones participating. To help ensure the health and safety of our young athletes, CDC developed the “Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports” initiative to offer information about concussions – a type of traumatic brain injury – to coaches, parents, and athletes involved in youth sports. The “Heads Up” initiative provides important information on preventing, recognizing, and responding to a concussion.

Safety never takes time off, so we all need to work together to remain vigilant to prevent on- and off-duty accidents this Columbus Day weekend. CSM Hartless and I cannot express how proud we are of your efforts to truly make IMCOM the Army’s Home… let’s make it a safe home, as well.

Support and Defend!

Army Strong!

LTG David Halverson & CSM Jeff Hartless