Saturday Morning Message: Mixed emotions about Memorial Day

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

This Memorial Day is unusual as many of us will be marking the holiday at home and not doing our usual activities, but we may run into someone who will wish us a happy Memorial Day. For many in our country, this weekend marks the first days of summer, which makes them happy. For those of us connected to TAPS, this day has a very different meaning.

This year, TAPS is sharing what we have learned about grief and loss with the civilians who are on the front line of the COVID-19 crisis with the resource "We Are All in this Together". To explain what this online site is, I turn to Bonnie Carroll, founder of TAPS, who wrote, “This will offer a collection of online resources that we believe will be helpful to millions of Americans.The lessons we have learned over more than two decades of work in grief and loss are also applicable to our first responders, healthcare workers, and all of our fellow citizens who have been affected by the isolation, fear, and loss associated with COVID-19.” Please feel free to share this link with your friends, family, your local healthcare workers and any others who may find it helpful.

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon

American flag at sunset


Answers from Survivors

Responses from Survivors to last week's question: If someone were to greet you saying 'Happy Memorial Day' how would you respond? How have you responded in the past? Has your answer changed since your loss?

From Donna, mother of Eric: As a kid and young adult, I didn't know that Memorial Day was specifically for military deaths. My family always celebrated by putting flowers on our family's graves and having a cookout. I didn't know it wasn't just a reason for a three-day weekend. I don't ever remember being taught about Memorial Day in school, maybe because school was already out by the time Memorial Day came.

I'm never offended when anyone says “Happy Memorial Day.” I look at it as I'm happy that there is a day set aside to honor my baby. I also think people say things out of habit and without thinking it all the way through. I don't think anyone is trying to be mean by saying "happy."

I also don't take offense when someone tells me happy Mother's Day. His friends don't want me to be left out on Mother's Day, so they call and text and send gifts. When it's done out of love, respect and remembrance it's not offensive to me.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: I used to nod or something time I lost it and tried to politely explain that we honor the lives of brave men and women who passed away from various wars. This is not a happy occasion.

From Anne, mother of Michael: When someone says “Happy Memorial Day” to me I would say that for me and others who have lost a child in the military it is never a happy day and then I would proceed to inform them of the true meaning of Memorial Day!


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

Memorial weekend is a time when our country remembers those who have passed in the military. I thought it would be comforting to share stories of our loved ones, so the question this week is: What is a fond memory of your loved one? It could be a serious or a funny moment. We would love to read a memory of your loved one.


The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. I am always looking for questions and songs for future messages. If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who participated this week, send it to me and I will make sure it is sent. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing In order to have your reply included the following week, it is best to send your response to me 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 Robyn, mother of Michael, who wrote, “My song is ‘She Talks to Angels’. There are so many songs that remind me of my baby. He would wake me up in the middle of the night and we would go for a drive and listen to music. I miss him dearly; I felt my heart break the day he died.”

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.


Related Stories

Survivors at Arlington

5 Tips for Self-Care on Memorial Day

It's important to practice self care during Memorial Day weekend.

Rachel and Jeffrey Hill

Memorial Day brings a mix of emotions

For one surviving widow and her two boys, this day is now etched into their minds and brings with it sorrow and tears, but also pride in remembrance.

Other Items and Events of Interest

Caregiver to Survivor Program banner

TAPS recognizes the urgent need to support families who have lost a military loved one after having been a caregiver. The leading cause of death of our military loved ones is reported by survivors to be illness, but we know there are many survivors that experienced a loss after having cared for a loved one who was traumatically injured or diseased as well. 

At TAPS we understand, and we’re here to support our survivors as they navigate a grief journey that may have begun even before the death of your loved one. And, we are mindful of the differences present when someone has been a caregiver before they have transitioned to a survivor. The Caregiver to Survivor Program was developed with this in mind. 

We invite you to explore our resources and encourage you to reach out for support and take advantage of this exciting new program. 

▶▶  Connect With Other Survivors of Illness Loss

Join with other caregivers who supported their loved one through a devastating illness. Honor and share your loved one, the emotions, issues and challenges facing bereaved caregivers. Regardless of the circumstance or geography of the death, you are welcome in the TAPS Caregiver Support Chat. 

Caregiver to Survivor Chat
Wednesday, May 19
8:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Eastern
We hope to see you there!

▶▶  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.

Did you lose your loved one due to an illness?

Illness Loss Survey

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

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).