Saturday Morning Message: Celebrating Our Great Country

Author: Carol Lane


Good Morning, Happy Independence Day

Today we are celebrating July 4th by virtually traveling. The opening picture is the front of one of the hotels that housed the TAPS 24th National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp in Arlington, Virginia. In addition to the beautiful flag and flowers, the link shows pictures of the activities that happened at that seminar.

American flag

We hope you will enjoy the responses and pictures that were sent this week.

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon


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 families to visit?

Bear (Michael) and his best friend, Scott

From Kelsey, mother of Michael: TAPS visitors would enjoy Cheaha State Park. It is the highest point in Alabama. The picture is Bear (Michael) and his best friend, Scott, at the park.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: I live on Long Island, New York. We have beautiful beaches, parks and other great places. The Nassau County Museum of Art is a favorite of mine because the land outside of the museum is as interesting as the museum. The museum property is filled with large and other sized sculptures. The landscaping is natural, serene and beautiful. It’s just lovely to be there.

From Mary, daughter of William: My hometown is St Louis, Missouri and for many years we’d have fireworks from our St. Louis Gateway Arch. I live in the suburbs 30 minutes away, but could see the fireworks every year from a commuter parking lot in my neighborhood. They are not having that this year so no “Ooohs and Ahhhs” for me, but instead they are having a social distancing car gathering at an old empty shopping mall with the bands and truck vendors and best of all, the fireworks, too. I am glad my hometown can figure out Plan B to help us feel the celebration of our independence.

From Elizabeth, spouse of Joseph: Although it's not in our city, Cranston, Rhode Island, I'd suggest a trip to Beavertail State Park in Jamestown, Rhode Island. It's a beautiful place on the coast, so you can see for miles. My family went there the first Father's Day after my husband Joe died in April, 2017. It was his absolute favorite place. He loved climbing on the rocks. Our grandson Charlie was only 3 then, so we didn't let him go very far, but it certainly made him feel very grown up. Charlie and his sister Ellie (4 now) hear about Joe all the time.

From Lydia, mother of Carl: I live in Omaha, Nebraska. Most years, if you came to visit in late June, we could catch some of the best baseball. The NCAA College World Series comes to town for two weeks with the best eight teams in Division 1.

If you come at any other time, I would take you to the Henry Doorly Zoo. We would walk through an indoor jungle and an indoor desert. We could walk through one of the largest salt water aquariums in the United States and watch sharks and rays and fish swim around us. 

From Samira, mother of Andres: I live in Orlando, Florida, the world of theme parks. I hope we do a reunion here! It would be a dream come true!

Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

What is your favorite plant in your indoor or outdoor garden?

Since many of us are spending more time at home, gardening can be a rewarding way to use our time. It doesn’t matter where we live. There are beautiful house plants and there are also magnificent plants to grow outside. Let’s use this as next week’s question:  What is your favorite plant in your indoor or outdoor garden? It would be nice if you could send a picture and tell us why you like it. We look forward to your responses. 

The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. Questions for future messages are always welcome. You can reply to this message or email In order to have your reply included the following week, it is best to send your response by Tuesday morning. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.

♫ Song for the Week

This week’s song is from Lydia, mother of Carl, who wrote, “Carl played euphonium all through school from grade 5 through high school. His first solo piece was ‘Gabriel's Oboe’ from the movie ‘The Mission.’ As far as I know, there are no lyrics. I don't have an audio clip of him playing it.” I found it on YouTube for your enjoyment.

A survivor once suggested we include a song of the week, which has now become a weekly feature.  One of our contributors, Andy, father of Danny, makes a free playlist on Spotify of the songs that appear in the Saturday Morning Messages along with a few other songs special to him. The playlist is called TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) Songs of Love and Remembrance. The songs from last week are included on this playlist.

You can send me favorite songs for this song of the week section at and include a note about why the song is meaningful to you.

Share Your Thoughts

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 and your thoughts will be passed along to them. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another.

Related Stories

Kids at summer camp

Favorite Hometown Places

TAPS survivors proudly share about great destinations in their hometowns to visit.

Colorado Celebrity Classic

Dream Retreats

Where would you travel if you could choose one place and money was not a problem?


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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.  

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.