Over the past year, the world has had to conquer many collective obstacles. From the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the ending of the war in Afghanistan, and the various difficulties and strains we have seen unfold throughout our nation and the world. Together, we have endured these challenges and demonstrated our collective resolve.

2021 marks the one-year anniversary of Operation People First, and we as an Army have focused on making a difference in the lives of our Soldiers and their families. The strength of our Soldiers and their families provide the necessary foundation of our formations.

An important role in making a difference in the lives of our Soldiers and their families is investing in and giving back to the communities in which they are a part of. Our communities are an essential part of the strength of our Army families. Our Soldiers live in these communities, whether on Fort Hood or the surrounding areas. These communities are where our families work and our children go to school. Giving back to the communities that provide so much is vital to maintaining the relationships between our Soldiers and the American people who continue to support us each day.

John F. Kennedy once said, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” The strength of our formations does not rest on the shoulders of an individual. It is the collective task of each member of the unit to show up each day and do their job to the best of their ability for the success of the mission, and to take care of others. The strength of the individual rests in the community of others.

This year is the 30th National Make A Difference Day, an observance that provides an appropriate opportunity for all of us to give back to our communities and each other. Acts of volunteerism or charitable works do not always have to be grandiose gestures. They can be as simple as picking up trash on the street, volunteering at a local shelter or helping a neighbor in need. Doing good things is contagious. It only takes one act of kindness to make a difference in the community.

The essence of Make A Difference Day calls upon the Army Value of “Selfless Service.” Make A Difference Day is one small way to demonstrate our service to the community through acts of volunteerism or charitable works.  

Acts of service can create positive change within our communities, which can bring positivity in the people in them. We have seen many examples of negativity fester this past year, however we must not lose sight of the power of positivity and banding together.