Thanksgiving Day is a day for family, friends, and reflecting on our many gifts in life. On this uniquely American holiday, rooted in the founding of our nation, let us celebrate safely with grateful hearts and give thanks for the basic freedoms we enjoy as Americans.

If you are preparing your holiday meal, remember, house fires are three times more likely on Thanksgiving Day than on any other day of the year. Unattended cooking and combustible materials left too close to a stove or fryer and cooking equipment not properly turned off are major causes of Thanksgiving Day fires. Misuse of turkey fryers can also be very dangerous, as many users are unaware of the chemical reaction that occurs between frozen turkey and hot oil. Don’t leave young children unattended within reach of hot stoves, food, etc.

Traffic accidents also increase this time of year, as more travelers are on the roads visiting family and friends for the holiday. Please reduce risk factors by following some simple rules: always allow sufficient travel time; use seatbelts; don't drink and drive; and don't drive distracted, drowsy or fatigued. Focus on the task at hand! Use mil/TRiPS to plan the journey to include rest breaks, and keep your vehicle in good operating condition.

I want to thank each of you for all you do for Fort Belvoir, our armed forces and our nation. Happy Thanksgiving!

Col. Michelle D. Mitchell

U.S. Army Garrison Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander