Independence Day is just around the corner. Will your thoughts focus entirely on grilling out hamburgers and hot dogs, perhaps watching a parade, and then having your eyes fixated on a dazzling fireworks display at night? These are all good things, certainly, but it’s also worth spending some time reflecting on the sacrifices our soldiers make overseas – to ensure our freedom here at home…. freedom that, I think most of us, including myself, tend to take for granted.

Sometimes it takes a personal experience to drive home this point. My wife and I attended the graduation party for an 18-year-0ld – let’s call him “Guy” – in 2009. Just scant months later – he turned 19 and was deployed to Afghanistan. He was overseas for only 30 days when “Guy” was killed in a bomb blast. So, like so many young men, a 19-year-old who should have had the rest of his life to look forward to….. and who was barely out of high school…… was gone………. and all because he enthusiastically enlisted in the Army to safeguard our freedom.  Surely many of you reading this have a personal experience to reflect upon as well. So, have a burger, watch some fireworks, and have some fun on the 4th – but let’s all take a moment to remember our soldiers, too.

Speaking of dates to remember – September 11, 2001 – commonly known as 9/11 – is nearing its 10th anniversary, believe it or not. The 3rd quarter issue of the Journal of Employee Assistance (JEA) – which mails in July – has a number of articles pertaining to employee assistance experiences learned from this tragedy. Like soldiers killed overseas, we can’t bring these Americans back either – but we CAN remember them …. and ….. there are always things to be learned the next time a crisis response is needed.

Members of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) automatically get a copy of the JEA as one of their core benefits. To find out more, visit      Have a happy and safe 4th!