Team, historically Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. The fourth Thursday in November is a day when Families come together, parades pass through our streets, football games are watched and enough turkey is consumed to satisfy the hungriest of appetites.

As we gather with our Family and friends, remember those at home with an empty setting at their table during this season. Being part of the Army Family entails sacrifice, let us remember these Families and their deployed loved ones during this holiday period.

Although Thanksgiving is a time of thanks, remembrance and joy, it brings particular hazards which can be unforgiving if you are unprepared. I urge all of you to:

• Ensure you have a “winter car-emergency kit” in your vehicle. It can be especially useful when visiting Family or friends if you get stranded far from home or in unfamiliar areas.

• Get plenty of rest before embarking on your journey. Six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is recommended.

• Familiarize yourself with the risks of driving in winter conditions and be vigilant when on the roads. Plan for extra time as winter weather and heavy traffic may complicate your travel plans.

• Use TRIPS to plan your vacation. Contact your first-line leader when you arrive safely at your destination.

• Watch for fire hazards associated with holiday home decorations near electrical outlets.

• Use salt around walkways if they become icy.

• If you venture out hunting; dress appropriately for the weather, wear your safety gear and bring a survival kit in case of an emergency.

As a member of the Fort Bragg and XVIII Airborne Corps Band of Brothers and Sisters, we must all take care of each other and effectively manage the risks associated with our behaviors.

Let’s enjoy a safe and happy Thanksgiving!