Remembering Our Fallen Heroes, And Those Left Behind
As we celebrate Memorial Day, we want to remember the brave men and women who gave their lives in service to our nation, and highlight a special charity that is near and dear to us: the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the spouses, children, parents, siblings and other loved ones of our fallen U.S. military members. TAPS provides hope and healing through a variety of programs, including one-on-one peer support, educational seminars, grief camps for kids, and more, at little or no cost to families. To date, TAPS has helped over 50,000 family survivors, casualty officers, and caregivers, who grieve the loss of loved ones who died while serving our country.
The Good Grief Camp, started by TAPS in 1994, pairs children and teens with trained mentors who support them as they share stories, learn coping skills, and have fun in an environment that is positive and healing. These young campers are often comforted knowing that there are other children like them who understand what they are experiencing, and also have an opportunity to memorialize their loved one.
“Daniel”, now 20-years-old, lost his father, Daniel Sr., a Marine Corps KC-130 pilot, on January 9, 2002, when his mother, Jenn, was only 15 weeks pregnant. Daniel never had the opportunity to know his dad, who passed away during a transport and refueling mission in Pakistan during the early years of the Global War on Terrorism and the aftermath of 9/11. Jenn also became a young widow and single mother at the age of 27.
Navigating this challenging emotional journey, Daniel’s mom found TAPS and the Good Grief Camp as a roadmap to help them cope with the loss of a husband and father. Throughout the years, Daniel has made many friends through his experiences on two Good Grief Camp excursions. Paired with mentors who also served in the U.S. military, Daniel has been able to gain a sense of the culture his dad was a part of, perhaps even a sense of Daniel Sr. himself, through the spirit and camaraderie of others who served to protect our freedom.
The story of Daniel and his mother Jenn is exemplary of thousands of American families from several generations who have lost loved ones in service to our great nation. In addition to remembering our fallen heroes and those left behind, we thank and salute TAPS for their continued compassion and hard work to help and heal so many.
More information about TAPS may be found here.