Saturday Morning Message: How do you mark Memorial Day?

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

The picture this week shows one of the hugs given last year at the 23rd Annual TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp. On Memorial Day, survivors can be found in many different places at events that honor those who served in our country’s military and gave their lives. Some can be found at an activity in their home state while still others may choose a location that is special to their loved ones, and some may prefer to stay at home. I am at the 24th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp this weekend, so the Saturday Morning Message will be a bit different. I have included responses from survivors that come from the TAPS archives about Memorial Day activities. The dates the pieces appeared are written above the comments.

Survivors Embrace

Wherever you chose to spend this Memorial Day, you are in the right place and the thoughts of your TAPS family are with you. If you find you would like to talk to someone at TAPS, please call 800-959-TAPS (8277) anytime as our helpline is available 24/7 for support.



Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

This week’s question is a continuation from last week. It is: What is a favorite recipe that comes to mind when you think of your hero? The answer can be a recipe of yours or one your loved one liked. The answers to this question will appear in the June 2 edition of the Saturday Morning Message. We look forward to your responses.


♫ Song for the Week

This week’s song of the week is National Memorial Day Concert 2017 Taps and Armed Forces Medley It seems that is the perfect one for today since it includes the themes for all the United States Armed Forces.


Answers from Survivors

Responses from Survivors about Memorial Day from the Archives:

June 7, 2014

From Bob, father of John: Kitty and I were at the National Military Survivor Seminar in Washington, DC. After the luncheon on Friday, we were sitting near one of the doors leading into the dining hall when a small boy, about 5 or 6, came into the room with his mother. They were looking around as if they had lost something, so I asked the boy if he had lost something. He replied that he had lost his daddy. I asked him when? He said in 2013. I then told him that his daddy had asked me to give him something, but that he had to give it back. He looked confused, so I told him it was a hug. Could I give him one? He said YES! We hugged and my wife who could see his face said it was like the whole weight of the world had been lifted off his shoulders. I told him thanks, to which he responded, "Yeah!"

That would have been enough for us for the year, but on Monday evening going through the underground tunnel to eat, we were met by this same boy and his mother. He said, "Aren't you the huggers?" We said yes we were. He said, "Can I have another one?" We hugged again and all of our weekends were made complete.

May 30, 2015

From Annie, mother of Michael: This Memorial Day I went to two separate services in my area. The first one was on Sunday and it was called the "Walkway of Heroes." Every year they honor our son Michael along with many other men that were killed from our area in WW2, Korea, Vietnam, and now our recent war. On Memorial Day in our small town of Blauvelt, NY, we have a park called Lions Park. Every year I put a program together for our ceremony.  Our son has a plaque on the wall and this year another plaque was put on the wall to honor six more warriors who were killed in Iraq. It was a very moving ceremony to honor our loved ones.  After it is over the Lions Club invites everyone to come to the fire company to have some refreshments.

June 3, 2016

From Jean, mother of Patrick: Since I became a Gold Star mother and joined the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., my goal has been to educate the public about the real meaning of Memorial Day.

Each Memorial Day, I participate, plan and speak at memorial services and educate the public that freedom is not free!

This year, we did a Memorial Day challenge to ask others to set an empty place at their table or picnic and remember that the empty chair represents the person who will not be with their families this Memorial Day. On the plate, sprinkle some salt to represent the countless tears of families, friends and comrades in arms who mourn their deaths and miss them dearly. When these people set an empty place at their tables, they will understand that Memorial Day means that someone's child, spouse, parent, sibling or friend gave his or her future so you can have yours. So I challenge everyone reading this who paid the price with their loved one's absence to promote this challenge! 


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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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The TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar is going virtual. Held October 16-18, you will hear from others who have walked the road you are traveling. Sessions will offer vital information on anxiety, loss and family dynamics, talking to children and more. The grief that follows suicide loss can be uniquely complicated. You are not alone, and we invite you to join us for a time of hope and healing. 

Celebrating 20 Years of Team TAPS 

For 20 years, Team TAPS has honored our heroes and raised awareness and funds to support the TAPS mission. This year, in celebration of our 20th anniversary, we are coming together to create a virtual movement. We will walk, run, bike, swim, and row - find ways to move in honor of our loved ones. We will gain strength, go the distance, and encourage each other. Join us for this adventure

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

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We're all in this together

Have you lost your job or have reduced household income? How has the pandemic made an impact on your life? 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. Please share how COVID-19 has impacted you by taking our survey.


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, 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

Those who take either survey will receive a discount to the TAPS store for providing this important and valuable feedback.

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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.