Saturday Morning Message: Sharing July Fourth Memories

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

The picture this week is of the flag that flies at the front of our house the whole year. I love to have survivors send pictures to share with all who read the message. It adds another level of connection.

American Flag

Since the Fourth of July came in the middle of the week this year, the Saturday Morning Message wrapped both weekends with questions about this holiday. Last week’s question asked survivors to share a memory of the Fourth of July with their families. Our family’s favorite thing to do was to go to our town’s fireworks. We live in a small town, so we know a lot of the residents and their children. We would all gather together to watch them. I still like to see the fireworks, but now I watch them on TV. I know you will enjoy the memories that other survivors sent this week.

Questions are the backbone of the Saturday Morning Message. In order to keep the Saturday Morning Message fresh, I am looking for more questions. If you have questions or topics you would like to see addressed in the Saturday Morning Message, you can email me at I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. In addition to replies that are placed in the message, I also look for thoughts you have. You can write to me anytime just to communicate or if you have thoughts on what could make the Saturday Morning Message more helpful. Replies to the weekly question are best sent to me by Tuesday afternoon. You are an important part of this message, and I look forward to your questions or any ideas you may have.


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message

Adra, mother of Kyle, sent the question for this week. Do you have a particular inanimate object that really speaks to your heart? Is there something you carry with you that is meaningful and helps when times are rough? We look forward to reading your response.

♫ Song for the Week

Caryn, mother of Nathan, sent “More Than Words” by Extreme as the song for this week. It is a very relaxing song for listening while you read the Saturday Morning Message. 

Answers from Survivors

From Kitty, mother of John: Our son, John, loved the picnic-style time spent with family and friends, running with sparklers in the early evening awaiting the fireworks viewed from our rooftop. But, his most favorite activities were watching Santa Clarita's July Fourth parade, picking up candy thrown from the floats, and the honoring of military heroes, reminding him of his grandmother and grandfather, who were both Army veterans. It was also the beginning of a weeklong celebration of his birthday on July 12.

From Rita, mother of Shawn: Last week would have been my son's 40th birthday. His wife had planned to join me and other family in Texas to celebrate by fixing a shrimp shish kabob that Shawn liked and prepared. She could not make it due to illness. Instead of having the shish kabob, I fixed enchiladas using my son's recipe. It brought us all together and gave us a precious memory that included Shawn.

As for the Fourth of July, my son and his wife would have elaborate pool parties that included any family members who wanted to come and always included Shawn's military family. It was always fun at Shawn's!

Bonnie, mother of Andrew: My kids really did not have a choice on the Fourth of July. By then, we had opened up our little lake home and were up there for the whole summer, actively engaging in the outside activities.

Every Fourth, the whole lake, a small community of about 250 cabin owners, held a few events like a morning parade where we all decorated our boats, be it a paddle boat, a rowboat or an outboard.

We held the parade, assigned a winner and went on to the next event, which was a sailing race when, and if, the weather permitted it. Then, it was eventually onto a fishing and swimming contest.

Andy and one of our new friends (a girl of course) went out in one of our sailboats, a Sunfish. Not too big and not too small and, of course, they were wearing lifejackets. Bob, my husband, and Lisa, our daughter, went out in another sailboat. I sat on the shore taking photos and enjoying some peace and quiet — or at least that was what I was thinking.

All of a sudden a big wind came up and Andy and this girl flipped over in the lake! Bob told Lisa, “Just guide the boat to the shore while I go and save your brother and friend,” and he jumped out of the other sailboat. Lisa was panicked as she had never been alone in a sailboat.

They had flipped over the boat and could not get it upright as the mast was completely upside down and too heavy for the two of them to right. It may have gotten stuck in some mud, but I am not sure.

All worked out OK, and God bless my Lisa. She navigated that sailboat to the shore expertly even though she was so little. We invited this girl’s family over for our barbecue that night and all was fine.

The Fourth was always fun and included fireworks we got to see over the lake. I played the guitar around the fire pit. The mosquitos were pests, though, for sure!


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Visit the TAPS Online Community Calendar for this week's schedule of text and video chats and other offerings. We have a virtual gathering most days of the week. Whether you want to share your story or just read how other survivors are sharing and coping, this online grief support community is a way for you to develop and strengthen your connections with TAPS.

Other Items and Events of Interest

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This Summer, Youth Programs is hosting TAPS Good Grief and Family Camp at Home through August 28. Each week, there are activities and challenges you can complete individually and as a family. Missed a week? No problem - all activities and challenges from previous weeks are available online. Join us for opportunities for you and the kids to connect to mentors and other families through Zoom sessions.

Make plans to join us for our next Virtual Military Survivor Seminar, August 21 and 22. We have new, dynamic sessions available throughout the weekend at no cost, with all of the resources, care and love we can offer, coming to you in the comfort of your home. We'll also have Share Groups, our facilitated support groups, where you can meet other survivors with similar loss experience. We look forward to seeing you online soon!

Save the date! Please join us for the Military Survivor New to Grief Seminar, once per week from September 3 to 24. Together we will work toward two primary goals. First, we will grow deeper understandings as we deconstruct myths about grief, explore the cognitive and physical impacts of grief, and seek to establish a helpful language around our own experiences. Second, we will establish community among our peers so that we have others who have a strong desire to accompany us as we continue navigating the ups and downs of our loss and grief.

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Did you lose your loved on due to an illness loss

If your military loved one suffered with a wound, illness, or injury, please consider taking our new Illness Loss Survivor Survey before August 18th, 2020, so TAPS can honor your loved one through our advocacy efforts. If you took the survey last year, we ask that you retake it as we've made important updates. Your response could help shape policy and legislation, and direct future TAPS programs and services. To learn more, email

Have you lost your job, or have reduced work hours? Or are otherwise affected by COVID-19? If you are grieving the death of a loved one, and their life included military service, we'd like to hear from you. Your feedback will be used to improve TAPS programs and to communicate survivor needs to donors and stakeholders. Tell us more.

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AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support TAPS every time you shop, at no cost to you. Visit, log in, and select TAPS as your charity of choice. Amazon will give 0.5% of your eligible purchases to TAPS.

About the Saturday Morning Message

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication; written and contributed to by survivors. The primary focus of the Saturday Morning Message is to foster peer-based connection for support and encouragement.  It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive atmosphere where we can openly share in a non-judgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable, and explore any opinions/ideas shared that are most beneficial to you on your individual journey. Content submitted for inclusion in the Saturday Morning Message is edited for spacing considerations, grammatical corrections and may be used in other TAPS publications.  

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If you ever need to speak to someone regarding an urgent matter or just need a listening ear, the loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please feel free to contact TAPS at 800-959-8277.