Fort AP Hill Commander Message for Thanksgiving

The success we’ve seen in the past year has certainly given us many reasons to be thankful. Your hard work and dedication has ensured our mission success and I am forever thankful to the Great People at AP Hill who have truly embraced the concept of the AP Hill Family as an extension of their own. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication in serving our Soldiers, Civilians and Families. Mr. Wright, CSM Whitcomb and I wish the best to you and your Families for a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly, but not universally, traced to a poorly documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. In later years, religious thanksgiving services were declared by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford who planned a thanksgiving celebration and fast in 1623. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.

Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England. Several days of Thanksgiving were held in early New England history that have been identified as the “First Thanksgiving”, including Pilgrim holidays in Plymouth in 1621 and 1623, and a Puritan holiday in Boston in 1631. Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders in New England up until 1682, and then by both state and church leaders until after the American Revolution. During the revolutionary period, political influences affected the issuance of Thanksgiving proclamations. Various proclamations were made by royal governors, John Hancock, General George Washington, and the Continental Congress, each giving thanks to God for events favorable to their causes. As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God”.

Beyond history, Thanksgiving is a day for reflection and giving thanks for all we have been blessed with. During this time, I encourage everyone to take a well-deserved break and spend time with family and friends. As you take this break, I do ask all of us to keep safety a priority in all activities you have planned. Stay safe and watch out for others by applying the same risk management standard during your holiday activities as you do when you are on-duty. I am certain that many of us will be traveling during the Thanksgiving Day weekend. If you hit the road, even for a short trip, take into account increased traffic, seasonal weather conditions and other risk factors. A lot of risk factors—such as speeding and driving under the influence—are in our control, so we need to be smart and make the right decisions.

We must also be aware that the holiday season traditionally sees an increase in the number of suicides. As we do every day, we need to look out for each other, for our teammates, Family members and friends, and if we recognize potential warnings signs, reach out and help.

Take care of each other and have a safe and great Thanksgiving. To support your planning efforts and facilitate your safe movement to observe this holiday period, I authorize early departure, up to 59-minutes, on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 for the Fort AP Hill Staff and Workforce. Director Heads will execute all necessary administrative actions to support this IAW higher policy and regulations as well as ensuring all mission requirements are satisfied prior to release. Directors report status for execution to DGC NLT 1200 on 21 NOV 2012.

Thank you again for your selfless service to our great Nation. Enjoy this holiday, but remember to always play it safe.

“Bring Hill Up!!!”

v/r
Peter E. Dargle
LTC, AR
USAG Fort A.P. Hill Commander

About U.S. Army Garrison Fort A.P. Hill

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