Saturday Morning Message: Memories and Photos

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

Pictures bring back memories of what we did with our loved ones and what they loved doing. This picture I carry in my cell phone wherever I go and I wanted to share it with you. It brings back the memory of how much Bryon loved his job in the Marines. He was a helicopter crew chief. One of his friends took the picture on one of the flights. I love the picture because it shows his big smile and makes me smile as well. You will read and see pictures others sent this week later in the message.

Byron Lane

The Saturday Morning Message will be posted as usual to those who signed up to receive it. The responses may also be used in other TAPS publications.Remember that you can write to me anytime just to communicate or if you have thoughts on what could make the Saturday Morning Message more helpful. I look forward to hearing from you. My email address is

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

The next question comes from Cheryl, mother of Jack who asks: Have you watched movies that helped with your grief or inspired an aspect of healing in your grief? Would you share a name of a movie and how it helped you? The movie doesn’t have to be one you saw at a cinema. It can be one you watched on TV or streamed through another device. The answers to this question will be posted in the July 28 Saturday Morning Message. 

We can honor our loved ones by communicating with each other through writing. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. You can also submit favorite songs that are meaningful to you. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.


♫ Song for the Week

I know we had this song before, but I couldn’t resist sharing it again. I was watching the 4th of July concert in DC on PBS. Renee Fleming came onstage to perform You’ll Never Walk Alone. As the service members and their families went onstage, tears came to my eyes. Then I thought that is exactly what TAPS does for us...make sure that we never walk alone.


Answers from Survivors

Responses from Survivors to last week’s question: Do you have photos of your loved one that bring back important memories for you?


Photo of Stephen

From Michelle, mother of Stephen: There are so many pictures I could post of memories that I have of my son, but then there wouldn't be anymore room for other proud parents to post their love ones’ pictures, so I decided to post one from when he came home in 2013 that really sticks in my head like it happened yesterday. Stephen had come home on leave, it was around 9:30 in the evening. I still remember opening the door, thinking it was my middle son’s girlfriend. When I opened that door, well, you know when you see videos of soldiers coming home surprising their loved ones and they are shouting, jumping up and down, just so excited. Well, that was my moment. Opening that front door, seeing him standing there with this big smile on his face and me going crazy! It was a moment I will forever cherish in my heart. So this picture is of my middle son, Daniel. The one to the right is my son, Stephen, when Stephen came home that March. They went to a restaurant he liked in Toledo, Ohio. My handsome soldier.

Andrew in Afghanistan

From Bonnie Jo, mother of Andrew and widow of Bob: Every photo I have of my Andy brings back so many wonderful memories and he was quite a ham, so he was always up for photos— except when he was a teenager! This is my favorite. It is of Andy with his KIDS as he called them on his first tour in Afghanistan. He laughed as he said, “These kids are having such a great time, but little do they know that in a while I will be giving them their shots!”


From Bruce, father of Brian: Brian, our son, was an active person never wanting to sit around. Whether it was going to baseball games, fishing, camping, hiking, concerts, or a game of golf. The hiking picture is him as a boy and a man six months before Brian’s death sitting in the same spot.


From Betty, mother of Michael: Despite the fact that it does not reveal the handsome smiles of my boys, this is one of my favorite photos. It was taken at Marine Recruit Depot in San Diego, June 5, 2015 following the graduation ceremony of my youngest son, Matthew. Ironically it was 10 years to the day that Michael left for boot camp in this same location. Michael, now a sergeant, was very proud of his brother. I snapped this photo as they strolled, in perfect step, across the beautiful art deco depot courtyard. It is hard to say who was the most proud that day: Michael, Matthew or me, the proud Marine mom. This picture hangs in our home as a precious reminder of a great day and our two great Marines—bound forever in love of country, love of family and love of God.


From James, father of Andrew: This photo is of Andy and me about one month before he left for boot camp. As a family, we vacationed often at Long Beach Island, New Jersey. We always did some regular things – the beach, ice cream, bike riding, mini golf, and … playing Rally Ball! It was a great game for the beach. One year, probably middle school age for Andy, he and I set our record of around 190 hits; well above any prior record for any of us ... except that his brother and I just set a new record the day before of over 210. Ultimately, my other son and I set quite a record – 498 hits. Well, on this evening three years ago, Andy and I went out and had some good rallies. Then we got to 239 hits – a record for the two of us! It didn’t top 498, but setting our own personal record sure felt great for both of us! I love the satisfaction and enjoyment in Andy’s face in this photo. 


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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.  

To subscribe or contribute to the Saturday Morning Message email

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.