Saturday Morning Message: Favorite Hometown Places

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

There are many wonderful places to visit in our country. TAPS helps us see some of those places when we think about going to the various retreats, seminars, and other experiences with a group of survivors. To find out more, go to the events section of the TAPS website. This week the responders proudly wrote about the great locations in their hometowns that people might like to see. Enjoy reading about these sites and who may decide to visit some of them.

Good Grief Camp Kids

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 

Bonnie Jo, mother of Andrew, sent this question. She wrote, “Everyone wants to see and enjoy photos. They remind us of our loved ones and bring life back to us.” Her question is: Do you have photos of your loved one that bring back important memories for you? Please share them and tell us a bit about where the photo was taken. We look forward to your responses. 

The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. By sharing coping strategies, together we become stronger. I am always looking for questions for future messages. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. In order to have your reply included in the week’s Saturday Morning Message, it is best to send your response to me by Tuesday morning of the following week. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.


♫ Song for the Week

It came to my attention this week that some readers may not realize that any words colored blue is a link. All you have to do is click on the word and you will go right to that place. 

A friend of mine who wants to remain anonymous, posted this song on Facebook which is the theme song for the American Fallen Warrior Memorial Foundation. I thought it would be a good song to have for this week. It’s titled 21 Guns and sung by Nathan Osmond. 

One suggestion a survivor had was to include a song of the week, which is now a weekly section. If you have a song that is special to you or reminds you of your loved one, please send it along with a sentence or two about what makes this song distinctive. One of our contributors, Andy, father of Danny, makes a playlist on Spotify of the songs that appear in the Saturday Morning Messages along with a few other songs special to him. You can sign up for Spotify for free to listen to the playlist.The playlist is called Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Songs of Love and Remembrance. I often listen to it and think of our TAPS family while I am on the computer.


Answers from Survivors

Responses from Survivors to last week’s question: What is one place in your hometown that would be good for a group of our TAPS family to visit?

If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who participated in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to me at and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: There are many places a TAPS group could meet local to Queens, New York. There are: the US Open which has already been used by TAPS; the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, which is easy to get to and fun for young and old; Yankee Stadium; Citi Field, home of the New York Mets; Coney Island; minor league baseball near the beach; lots of museums, Broadway shows; and Lincoln Center for ballet, opera, concerts, theater. There are venues on Long Island as well from Queens east to Montauk. I like the wineries.

From Samira, mother of Andres: Please come to Orlando, Florida. We can go to Epcot and have a dinner or lunch at one of the countries! I love Germany, Israel, and Europe!! See all of you soon!

From Cait, wife of Robb and mother of Dylan: I would say that coming to Phoenix in January, February, or March just to get away from the dreary winter months would be great. There's a lot to do here. Several museums are open during the winter that are not open during the summer months. Then of course a person could always hang around the pool at a resort. The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa is nice 4-star hotel, and the Phoenician is a lovely 5-star hotel. The Saguaro Scottsdale is a 4-star and it is right next to Old Town Scottsdale. I'd say coming to Phoenix in the winter is a great idea!

From Winona, wife of Clifford: We have many in northwest Arkansas. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art comes to mind. It contains beautiful artwork displays that span centuries. There is something of interest for everyone, including hiking trails around the museum that stretch from Bella Vista to Fayetteville.  

Arkansas has beautiful scenery and state parks with views that will take your breath away. Devil's Den State Park in located south of Fayetteville. There are campgrounds, lodging, and outdoor fun.

Head across the border to Missouri and experience Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. Here you will find lodging, tranquil scenery, bicycles for rent, and horseback riding. The first part of this  park was acquired by Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops.

From Bob and Kitty, parents of John: We are blessed to live in a community that is safe (fourth safest in America with a population of 250,000) and has a plethora of activities for young and old alike. Our most famous venue is Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor, the most attended theme park in 2017. It has the "King" of roller coasters. Warner Brothers characters greet attendees upon arrival.  I worked in the glass shop when we first moved to California.

Other attractions in Santa Clarita, California are: 1) William S. Hart Mansion and Park (early cowboy movie hero); 2) Oak of the Golden Dream and animal sanctuary (where gold was first discovered in California); 3) Disney Studios and back lots (need reservations); 4) Mountasia Family Fun Center (miniature golf, go-carts, arcades, laser tag, and ice cream parlor); 5) Veteran's Plaza, where the city's heroes are honored; 6) Wounded Warrior Memorial Bridge, where banners fly for three weeks each around Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veterans Day honoring our Gold Star Families; 7) California Institute of the Arts (Disney's college program with cartoons, filming, dance, etc., —need pre arrangements for free tours); 8) Central Park with sports fields, personal gardens, dog park, venue for fundraisers such as the Relay for Life, free weekly summer concerts, and reserved tours of the local water agency; 10) The Gentle Barn that cares for rescued animals, and more; 11) College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center (mostly ticketed events with famous performers, bands, ballets, and plays); 12) Route 66 Restaurant with classic cars on Saturdays during the summer; 13) Valencia Town Center Mall with shops and restaurants across from the Hyatt Hotel; 14) Main Street (old historic Newhall) with local theaters and restaurants; and 15) many walking and biking trails, the pride of Santa Clarita.

Other Items and Events of Interest

Arlington Cemetery family at headstone

Join us on Memorial Day Weekend, May 28 to 30, for our 27th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar! We will be live streaming all of our general sessions with guest speakers.

Important Note: In-person registration is still open, but we are in a waitlist situation due to COVID occupancy restrictions in the State of Virginia. 

If you have any questions, email or call our Helpline at 202.588.TAPS (8277).

Learn More and Register


▶▶  Connect With Your TAPS Family 

You can discover all the opportunities to connect with your TAPS Family on our website at the TAPS Event Calendar.

About the Saturday Morning Message

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication contributed by survivors. The primary focus of the SMM is to foster peer-based connections for support and encouragement. It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive place where we can openly share in a nonjudgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable. Content submitted for the SMM is edited for space considerations and may be used in other TAPS publications. The loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please call 202-588-TAPS (8277).