Celebrate, remember and be safe

There are some events in history so profound that many of us have vibrant memories of the day. A few immediately come to my mind: Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the day I married my wife and the births of my daughters. Over the next week we have much to celebrate and remember.

On Labor Day, we remember people like the 10,000 workers who, on Sept. 5, 1882, marched from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, voicing their demands for improved work conditions and a better way of life. We take a well-deserved day off to celebrate the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country garnered through the achievements of American workers. 130 years later, your voices are still being heard.

Team Hill leadership values our workforce and treasures our relationship with the American Federation of Government Employees. Working together with AFGE, we have successfully solved many challenges for our civilian workforce. For example, leadership from AFGE and Team Hill successfully implemented the Alternative Dispute Resolution program to immediately respond to employee concerns and maintain open lines of communication for future success. At present, we are working together to implement a successful Volunteer Protection Program to create a culture and work environment focused on safety.

Today, our civilian Airmen are faced with a dynamic mission and are increasingly relied upon as part of the total force. To help surmount these challenges, the Air Force has recently approved four workforce development initiatives that will continue to build strength and ingenuity in our civilian Airmen. For our Airmen in uniform, the Veterans Administration has recently created the post 9-11 GI Bill. This program will afford present and future generations of warfighters and their families the opportunity to attend college. Developing all Airmen is key to continuing our great accomplishments and enabling our people to excel at our mission to "Fly, Fight and Win in Air, Space and Cyberspace."

On Sept. 11th, Patriot Day, we remember the images of eight years ago, still fresh in many minds. We remember the 2,974 people who died in the terrorist attacks in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. We think of our friends, co-workers and family members who have deployed and sacrificed since 2001 to support the global fight against terrorism. We consider our mission here at Hill Air Force Base and the critical work we do — military, civilian and contractor alike — to support and defend our nation. We look around at this great nation and consider the vastness of our rights and freedoms and appreciate in our hearts those who have come before us and those who will follow after.

Over the next few weeks, I encourage you to take time to celebrate and remember. Celebrate the work you do and remember the reason you do it. Please be safe in your travels as you are all valuable members of Team Hill and the mission we support.

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