Cherished Memories from a Child Revisited

Author: TAPS

Each Friday, please visit our blog and join us as we take a look back at stories, people and events that have shaped who we are today.  We are a family of survivors honoring our selfless heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We are grieving parents, spouses, children, siblings, grandparents, fiancées, battle buddies and loved ones. We are hope. We are strength. We are TAPS.

Carolyn Horton as a little girl being held by her fatherPhoto: TAPS Archive

This letter from Carolyn Horton of Arlington, Virginia, was originally published in the Fall/Winter 2000 issue of the TAPS newsletter. Back then, we published letters from grieving children who wrote in to share a glimpse of how life had changed without their loved one. Carolyn, who is now 28, was only 9 years old when she generously shared cherished memories of her father, Army Maj. Robert Horton.

“It brings back really nice memories to see what I loved about my dad when I was much younger,” Carolyn said recently. “Even as a child, I remember getting the TAPS newsletter at home and reading the articles. Now, I still read the TAPS Magazine every time it comes to my door.”


Dear TAPS:

My dad was Major Robert Lee Horton. I am very proud of him! He made feel like I was the most important person in the world. I miss him a lot and will never forget him, ever. I wish he was here with me. My dad died of cancer. When my Mom told me the news, I burst into tears screaming no, no, no. I didn’t know what else to do. I felt so confused and didn’t want to believe what my Mom was saying. My dad died March 21, 1998. Since my dad was in the military I only got to see him in the early morning, afternoon and some weekends. He worked lots of long hours. Sometimes I used to hide his hats, so he couldn’t go to work without telling me good-bye! Sometimes when I’m sad about my dad’s death, and miss him a lot, I remember that he and his hat are waiting for me up in heaven!

My dad taught me how to ride my bike. He was teaching me how to swim. He used to let me help blow out his birthday cake candles! I miss going to Sea World with him and feeding the ducks at Sea World! I miss giving him his Father’s Day and birthday gift. I miss him tucking me in and reading me my bedtime story! I miss him tickling me, playing with me and riding bikes together.

TAPS has helped me through my grief about my dad’s death. I am now writing a book about losing a loved one. I like meeting new friends at the TAPS Youth Gathering. I cannot wait till TAPS 2001. It will be my third year. See you all at TAPS, bye!


Carolyn, 9 years old