Saturday Morning Message: Memorial Day Remembrances

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

The picture came from the article "Out of Tragedy," written by Bonnie Carroll, surviving spouse of Brigadier Gen. Tom Carroll and founder of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors that describes how this organization came to be. I thought it would be a good article to share in the Memorial Day edition of the Saturday Morning Message.

Rose on top folded flag

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, others may choose a location that is special to their loved ones and some may prefer to stay at home. I am at the National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp this weekend, so the Saturday Morning Message will be a bit different. I have included survivor responses that come from the TAPS archives about what they do on Memorial Day.

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.

Remember, you can write to me anytime — to contribute, subscribe 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


Answers from Survivors

Survivor Responses from the TAPS Archives: How do you spend Memorial Day?

From Bob, father of John in 2014: 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.

From Rose, surviving spouse of Troy in 2016: I brought flowers to my husband's grave when we went to visit. Then after that we visited his grandma and his mom and talked to them for a while before we came back here to our house.

From Jean, mother of Patrick in 2016: 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 someone’s child, spouse, parent, sibling or friend gave his or her future so they can have theirs. So I challenge everyone reading this who paid the price with their loved one's absence to promote this challenge.

From Craig, surviving father of Frank in 2013: On May 19, I was invited to sing the song I wrote, "They Buried My Son in Arlington" at an event. Sunday at our church we had the Patriot Guard Riders greet people as they enter the church. Our church honored several Gold Star Families from the area. That Sunday evening I was invited to sing my song again. On Memorial Day, Toni, my wife, will be travelling to Fort Myers to be at an event, while I will represent our family at our annual event in Oldsmar. So, Memorial Day for us turned into "Memorial Week."

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.


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message

This week’s question comes from Marcia, mother of Patrick. She sent a picture of a plastic jug of laundry detergent and wrote, “I still keep this in my laundry room, even though it's been empty for five years and the spout no longer works, because my Patrick bought it the last time he was home. I wonder what others hang onto that defies logic.”  What do you keep around that reminds you of your loved one? Tell us a bit about why you keep it. The answers to this question will appear in next week's edition of the Saturday Morning Message. We look forward to your responses.

Questions are the backbone of the Saturday Morning Message. In order to keep the Saturday Morning Message fresh, I am always 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. Replies to the weekly question are best sent to me by Tuesday morning. You are an important part of this message, and I look forward to your replies, questions or any ideas you may have.


♫ Song for the Week

The song of the week is the Armed Forces Medley, as performed by the National Symphony Orchestra at the Memorial Day Concert in 2017. It is the perfect one for today since it includes the songs for all the United States Armed Forces.

You can send me favorite songs for this song of the week section at


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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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Women's Empowerment Programming

If you’re looking to connect with other surviving women, you may just find your sisterhood during our fall weekly Women’s Empowerment sessions! These sessions are open to all TAPS women wrestling with questions of identity and purpose after loss. You can join this safe, supportive online environment via webcam. Our weekly schedule offers sessions on Tuesday through Friday each week.

Central Regional Seminar 

Join us at the Central Regional Seminar on  November 13 to 15 for a time of sharing, hope, and healing. Our seminars are designed to meet you where you are and help you gain coping skills that will help you find meaning and purpose as you move forward on your grief journey. We are working to make arrangements for this event with safety in mind and look forward to being together again. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, TAPS provides all lodging, meals, materials, activities, and T-shirts at no cost to you.

Dare to Lead - Cohort 3

Whether you are looking to enhance your resume or just want to pick up a new skill or two, we are excited to offer a third cohort of our popular Dare to Lead series of workshops, beginning on Sunday, November 15. These sessions are open to TAPS Survivors wanting to bring more courage to their workplace, home, community, or school. It is applicable for both formal and informal leaders (all of us), executives, visionaries, and healers across all spectrums.

Creating New Holiday Traditions - Webinar

Accessing a spirit of holiday cheer in the midst of grief can be challenging and many may feel compelled to skip the holidays altogether. Especially this year, when so many gatherings and travel may be limited, cultivating holiday traditions that honor your grief and promote connection with others can be very healing. Join the TAPS Institute to discuss creative ways to engage in the holidays in ways that meet you where you are in your grief journey. This Creating New Holiday Traditions webinar is free and will be held Thursday, November 19 from 12:00 to- 1:00 p.m. Eastern. 

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

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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.