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    Our Director Director's Blog

    It’s the Friday before a holiday weekend. As I walk through the halls, there’s a feeling of excitement as OPM employees discuss their plans, travels, shopping sales and long-weekend events. I feel it too, but as I pass a photo in the hallway on the 5th floor, a different feeling sets in. The photo is of Arlington National Cemetery in the fall. I look at the orange and yellow leaves scattered around the simple white marble headstones and I realize I’m no longer feeling the excitement in the air but instead a combination of melancholy and pride.

    Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, grandparents and friends who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom are lying in their final resting place only a few miles away from OPM in Arlington National Cemetery. Several days from now we will honor the sacrifice made by many service members through the observance of Memorial Day. This day gives us the opportunity to honor and pay tribute to all the men and women who gave their lives in the defense of our Nation and way of life, enabling us to enjoy the freedoms we all know as Americans.

    Memorial Day originated from the practice of decorating soldiers’ graves during and after the Civil War. Even today, people volunteer to place American flags or flowers on the headstones of the fallen at National Cemeteries across the country during this day. I invite you to attend one of the many Memorial Day ceremonies held across our Nation to thank our fallen heroes and their families for their sacrifice. It is because of them that we have freedom in America and freedom across the world.

    In addition, I wanted to take this time to remind those of you who will be celebrating with family and friends to stay safe. Be aware of your surroundings while enjoying public activities. Wear your seatbelt while traveling, excessive speed, driver fatigue, and driving under the influence are the predominant causes of accidents on our roads and highways, especially during peak travel periods. Don’t leave children unsupervised around barbeque grills or cookout equipment. And finally, be sure to encourage prudent safety measures, especially for water related activities such as swimming, wading, bathing, boating and diving.

    We can make this day more valuable and memorable by keeping all of ourselves and our family member safe from needless accidents or injuries over this long holiday weekend.

    Have a safe and happy Memorial Day, and don’t forget to remember why we really have the day off.

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