Where Will You Be on Memorial Day?
Author: Jennifer McCollum-Allen
Turning the pages of our calendars to a new year reveals a host of days to fill with activities, appointments and events. But one day in the year marks a moment that binds us together as a family: Memorial Day.
Annually, TAPS hosts the National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp over Memorial Day weekend. This year is no exception. It is a sacred time where we gather as family to share the journey. We connect with old friends and make new ones. We reflect on the lives of our loved ones and the legacy we carry on in their honor. We open our hearts to the strength we thought we could never muster and the common language only those who have walked this path can share.
If you choose to join us this year, you'll experience this year's theme of "Open Arms, Open Hearts, Sacred Spaces." Even if you aren't able to make the trip to our nation's capital, you can move through the weekend with us, choosing to focus each day on a different guiding principle.
Saturday is full of workshops, sharing groups, off-site activities and opportunities to engage with peers and professionals in a relaxed environment. This is a day to pause and reflect on our collective and individual journeys. Our triumphs, joys, sorrows and the lives we come to honor create a framework for healing and hope.
Sunday, we turn our focus toward inspiration. There is inspiration undiscovered, often already present but just enough below the surface that it remains hidden from plain sight. TAPS invites you to find inspiration within yourself and from each other. Take time to engage with those around you to learn from them and grow in ways we once wondered if possible. When we truly see each other, it gives us the motivation to continue navigating stormy seas.
Good Grief Camp, for young survivors ages 4 through 18, has been a model for children's grief and healing for more than two decades. Each child is paired with a military mentor, spending two and a half days together in a fun and engaging way that corresponds to each age group's development. The connections each young survivor makes with his or her mentor is not only a memorable and growing experience between each pair, but is often a lasting relationship. Our mentors create a foundation of understanding and honor the children's loved ones as they help them find hope over the years.
On Memorial Day, we honor each other and our loved ones. Survivors have the opportunity to attend the National Memorial Day Ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery as honored guests or to participate in the nationally televised Memorial Day Parade. Together with our TAPS family, we experience a collective respect and honor for our fallen heroes that are captured reverently against the backdrop of our nation's capital.
We Remember with You
Whether you decide to attend your neighborhood Memorial Day barbecue or spend this day reflecting in solitude, please know that your entire TAPS family pauses and remembers with you. We hope you consider making the trip to Arlington, Va., to join us for this special weekend of remembrance.
Connect. Reflect. Inspire.
Find strength in your TAPS family, knowing you are not alone as we celebrate the lives of those we loved and lost.
By Jennifer McCollum-Allen, Seminars Manager