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(Enlarge) Col. Edward C. Rothstein, Garrison Commander

Monday is Memorial Day, the first of our 2012 bookend holidays.

Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer. It is a day traditionally filled with picnics and barbecues and shared with family and friends.

It is also a time to honor our fallen Soldiers.

This week is also the kickoff of Fort Meade's 101 Days of Summer Safety Campaign. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the campaign's goal is to remind everyone not to lose focus on safety this summer.

Today, the Installation Safety Office will host Safety Awareness/Safety Stand-Down Day at the Pavilion from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. At the expo, local, state and federal agencies, as well as private vendors, will partner to offer you a wide range of safety, health and wellness information and services.

As we celebrate the start of summer and enjoy our favorite off-duty pastimes, let's also keep in mind that summer is also the time of the year when most military off-duty mishaps occur.

My goal is to help you increase your knowledge and understanding of the dangers involved with recreational activities, as well as common summer tasks. Let's all do our part and remind others to pay attention to risk management during off-duty activities and "think before they start" summer recreational activities.

Speaking of summer activities, Sunday is Fort Meade Military Appreciation Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I invite you to join me for the pre-game celebration as the Orioles welcome the U.S. Army Drill Team, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).

The pre-game festivities start at 1 p.m.

In addition to the U.S. Army Drill Team, the Armed Forces Color Guard from the Military District of Washington will perform, and Sgt. Randy Wight of the U.S. Army Field Band will sing the National Anthem and "God Bless America."

Nine service members from Fort Meade will stand with Orioles players on the field to be recognized for their military service.

I have been invited to throw out the first pitch.

I do enjoy events such as Sunday's baseball game. These events celebrate the service of local military members. They are opportunities for the country to show their appreciation for the efforts our service members put forth every day to keep our liberties strong.

As we close out this weekend with our Memorial Day celebrations, I want to leave you with a thought on how you can spend a moment of your time remembering those who gave their lives to protect our freedoms.

In accordance with a 2000 congressional resolution, on Monday at 3 p.m. across the nation, people will come together to pause for a moment of silence to informally observe a time of remembrance and respect.

I, along with my family, will attend a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington Cemetery to honor our fallen service members of all our wars.

But you don't have to be at Arlington Cemetery to be a part of the remembrance. Just take a moment on Monday at 3 p.m. and informally observe, in your own way, the sacrifices made and the lives lost in the name of freedom.

Let's all have a safe and joyous holiday weekend.

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