The TAPS Daily - May 18, 2020
Welcome to The TAPS Daily - your source for some of the latest news, resources, and thought pieces from across the military and veteran community during the COVID-19 response.
- We're All in This Together - TAPS COVID-19 Civilian Response Page
As survivors of military death, we are no strangers to isolation, fear and loss; we have many lessons learned and tools for coping. We have the advice of experts from our Advisory Board that we will share with you and other resources we’ve discovered over nearly three decades.
- U.S. Army Band Performs Song to Inspire Americans During Coronavirus Pandemic
“America” was written by retired Army Gen. Martin Dempsey and he joins the band “Downrange” to perform the special tune. Gen. Dempsey is a TAPS Board Member.
- Cemeteries delay military honors for veterans during COVID-19
(Task and Purpose)
The directive over national cemeteries has created a backlog of honors to be rendered once restrictions are lifted. Interments continue at the cemeteries, but without the full ceremony.
- Roll of Honor - Online Memorial for Veterans Awaiting Funeral Honors During COVID-19
VA’s online honor wall for all to remember those veterans whose committal services have been restricted under a directive beginning April 13 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The VA will work with families to schedule earned funeral honors once the crisis passes.
- Empty chair and a football helmet: David Forney remembered at Naval Academy graduation
Perhaps the most poignant image to emerge among the Naval Academy graduation events was that of an Army-Navy football helmet placed with care on an otherwise empty fold-out chair during the commissioning ceremony.
- Baskin-Robbins’ launches ‘Pint-Sized Heroes’ program
The program celebrates young people who are giving back to their communities during the pandemic.
Memorial Day News
- USAA Memorial Day - Honor Through Action
Remember those who gave their lives by serving their nation. USAA, a strong supporter of TAPS, hosts online Memorial Day campaign with many ways Americans can pay tribute to the fallen.
- How We Will Honor Memorial Day | TAPS Saturday Morning Message
Surviving families of the fallen share how they will mark Memorial Day this year.
- Loeffler urges VA to allow groups to place flags at national cemeteries for Memorial Day
Sen. Kelly Loeffler is urging the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow small groups to participate in the placement of American flags at national cemeteries for Memorial Day, after the department issued a recent order to prohibit the traditional observances amid the coronavirus crisis.
- Arlington Cemetery closed to general public on Memorial Day
(Task and Purpose)
Arlington National Cemetery will remain closed to the general public through the Memorial Day weekend with restricted access allowed only to family pass holders.
- VA ban of Memorial Day tradition 'perverse' if beaches can reopen amid coronavirus, NY official says
A longtime Memorial Day weekend tradition to honor veterans is now canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on Sunday urged the Department of Veterans Affairs to reconsider.
- Remembering Our Military Frontlines This Memorial Day
The pandemic means most public memorial services will be cancelled. All of us should still pause at 3:00 pm on Memorial Day for a moment of silence dedicated to those who have died.
- Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day Weekend Visitation Procedures
Arlington National Cemetery remains open only to family pass holders during the Memorial Day weekend. Those visiting for Memorial Day weekend are reminded to bring identification and must wear face coverings in restrooms and at all other times while in the cemetery where they are unable to maintain a six foot social distance.
- ANC Explorer: Arlington National Cemetery
Virtual visitation of Arlington National Cemetery is available year round through ANC Explorer - a web-based and mobile application that enables families, visitors and the public to locate gravesites and other points of interest throughout the cemetery. Use the app to view headstone photos, take a self-guided tour, and access general information.
- Veterans Legacy Memorial | US Department of Veterans Affairs
The National Cemetery Administration maintains an online Veterans Legacy Memorial of all veterans interred in national cemeteries, not including Arlington National Cemetery. Online tributes may be made on this digital memorialization platform.
- Ohioans place 2,000 flags on veterans' graves in 30 minutes
(Task and Purpose)
With traditional Memorial Day events canceled, the American Legion Post 28 in Perrysburg invited the public to help place nearly 2,000 flags at veterans’ graves in Fort Meigs Union Cemetery.
- How to celebrate Memorial Day at home virtually
Here are seven activities you can do to celebrate Memorial Day while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
- Here’s one way to honor fallen veterans on Memorial Day from your home
With Memorial Day a week away, we’re renewing our call for you to join us in honoring our fallen veterans. At 10 a.m. on Memorial Day, sing or play the Star Spangled Banner from your driveways, your porches, your rooftops.
TAPS In the News
- Bonnie Carroll on CNN Shares New Civilian Resource Page for COVID-19 - We Are All In This Together
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors typically helps Gold Star families through the grief of losing loved ones. Now, it is offering resources to those affected by coronavirus, the organization’s president and founder Bonnie Carroll tells Brianna Keilar on CNN.
- Survivors memorialize fallen family members with ‘Love Lives On’ album
The collection, set for a May 22, 2020 release, features songs co-written by families who lost loved ones who served in the military and performed by renowned musicians such as Billy Ray Cyrus, Vince Gill, Lonestar and John Rich, spanning genres including rock, country, Americana and pop.
- Angie K (Keilhauer) takes part in Love Lives On project
Angie Keilhauer from The Voice Season 10 is part of a touching new project called with TAPS called “Love Lives On.” She delivers an absolutely stirring vocal on “You Carry Me Too,” the song she co-wrote as part of the project with the surviving family of the fallen hero the song honors.
- The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Opens its Doors to the American People
In the wake of the devastating impact of COVID-19, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) has made available nearly 30 years of resources, information and hopeful healing to the American people.
- Advocacy group wants survivor benefits for all military families who lose a service member to coronavirus
(Stars and Stripes)
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a nonprofit and advocacy group for families of fallen service members, is looking to get the remainder of National Guard troops on federal status and to backdate it to help families of fallen receive federal benefits, such as monthly survivor compensation, education benefits or a death gratuity.
- Here's what grieving military families can teach civilians dealing with coronavirus tragedy
TAPS families of the fallen are no strangers to isolation after loss. TAPS President and Founder Bonnie Carroll shares how their experience is helping others dealing with COVID-19.
Government Relations / Benefits
- Why are so few military families seeking COVID-related financial help from these relief societies?
At a time when many Americans are suffering financial hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic, relatively few military families have sought help through the various military relief societies.
- Agent Orange may have sickened Vietnam-era veterans on Guam, Yale-linked report says
(Stars and Stripes)
Veterans who served on Guam between 1962 and 1975 were likely exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides containing dioxins and may have valid claims to service-related disabilities as a result, according to a recent report.
- SecDef Keeps Military Stop-Movement Order in Place After Review
The Defense Department has yet to figure out how permanent change-of-station moves will be conducted this summer when and if the stop-movement order, which currently runs through June 30, is lifted.
- VA Asks Public for Donations to Help Homeless Veterans Through Pandemic
The Department of Veterans Affairs asked the public Monday to write a check, donate food and contribute mobile phones to help homeless veterans and those at risk of eviction to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
- From black and white to fashion statements, military exchanges helping keep your face covered
As face masks are becoming a staple of our everyday lives, military exchanges are selling various assortments of disposable and cloth coverings.
- Veterans benefit from new health data sharing
Veterans are now benefitting from a joint effort to share health records with community health care partners, which launched April 18.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- New Hope for a 'New' Year
Our focus might have shifted since the New Year but we can use this time to learn new ways to cope and make us physically and mentally stronger.
- Video: Mourning Your Loss When the Whole World is Grieving | TAPS Institute
In this recording of the TAPS Talk, Patti Anewalt discusses how grief may be exacerbated during this difficult time and how to ensure a focus on self-care and wellness while honoring one's grief.
- Best Mental Health Apps | Apple and Android Mental Health Apps
Find some calm in the chaos with these tools.
- Coronavirus grief is different: 'Everything just feels fake'
The cruel toll of the COVID-19 pandemic reaches beyond its victims to hundreds of thousands of family members and friends who have been robbed of communal support and time-honored rituals to help them cope with the loss of loved ones.
- The Problem Isn't Zoom Fatigue — It's Mourning Life as We Knew It
There’s an unspoken sadness whenever we join a video call. A locked-down world without video calls would be significantly worse. But this doesn’t change the fact that telepresence is contributing to overall weariness.
- 'Grief Brain' Has Stolen My Ability To Enjoy Entertainment Like I Used To
When we think about brain trauma, we usually think about physical injury. But we now understand that the emotional trauma of loss has profound effects on the mind, brain, and body. The impact of grief on the brain can lead to confusion, disorientation, detachment, and increased forgetfulness.
- #HowAreYouReallyChallenge: Truth Telling For Mental Health During COVID-19
Kenneth Cole, the well known fashion designer, founded the Mental Health Coalition to create change in how we approach mental illness, “to destigmatize this public health threat, which starts with changing our cultural narrative, and creating a safe and supportive community.”
- Coronavirus Lockdown Takes a Toll on Mental Health
The psychological harm of lockdown hits people with existing conditions hardest.
- Coronavirus: Prince William, Kate Middleton send mental health message
Prince William and Duchess Kate took to the radio Monday, joining a clutch of celebrities in a "Mental Health Minute" broadcast urging people to reach out for help if they're feeling overwhelmed during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Should You See a Therapist to Deal With COVID-19 Stress?
While what you’re experiencing might be normal given the current bizarre circumstances of a pandemic, talking to someone might help you manage your stress.
- "People Are Just Disappearing": Life, Death and Grief in the Bronx in the Time of COVID
“Covering Coronavirus” explores how, as COVID-19 swells the ranks of the dead, the highly contagious disease is also upending how loved ones grieve.
- A 9/11 Responder and Veteran Has a New Way to Diagnose PTSD
Women with PTSD are more likely to feel depressed and anxious. Learn more through the VA’s resource page on post traumatic stress.
- Together, Husband and Wife Deal with His PTSD from Afghanistan
Jessica has been with Landon every step , scheduling appointments, monitoring progress, advocating for him. Sometimes, he said, just holding him -- that human touch helps.
- How to Sleep When COVID-19 Anxiety Makes It Impossible
It's not easy to relax in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are some simple tips and techniques that can help you get some shut-eye.
- First coronavirus death in three weeks, DoD reports
After the better part of a month where no Defense Department-affiliated personnel died of coronavirus complications, even as overall cases exploded past 8,000, a department contractor died over the weekend.
- Howard Grad Makes Air Force Thunderbird History
When the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds saluted essential workers in the D.C. area, a trailblazing woman flew in formation.
- Canadian Snowbirds Crew Member Who Died in Jet Crash Identified
A Canadian aerobatic jet crashed into a British Columbia neighborhood during a flyover intended to boost morale during the pandemic, killing one crew member, seriously injuring another and setting a house on fire.
- Army 4-star will co-lead Manhattan Project-style effort to create and distribute COVID-19 vaccine
Gen. Gustave Perna and Moncef Slaoui, a former chairman at GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines, will co-lead the project called “Operation Warp Speed," the president said in the Rose Garden of the White House.
- Thousands Defer Plans to Leave the Military During Crisis
Across the military, uncertainty about future jobs or college opportunities is driving more service members to re-enlist or at least postpone their scheduled departures.
- Official: FBI Finds Link Between NAS Pensacola Gunman, al-Qaida
The FBI has found a link between the gunman in a deadly attack at a military base last December and an al-Qaida operative, a U.S. official said Monday.
- Some VA hospitals reopening today for non-coronavirus care amid pandemic downturn
Veterans Affairs officials will begin today to offer non-emergency services at 20 medical centers across the country as part of a “phased approach” to resuming normal operations in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Veterans who sacrificed for their country battle coronavirus threat
If the VA hospitals and state-run nursing homes were a state, it would rank 16th for total coronavirus deaths, according to the data available.
- Deaths from coronavirus top 1,000 among Veterans Affairs patients
The number of Veterans Affairs patients who have died from coronavirus complications rose to more than 1,000 this weekend, even as the number of active cases of the illness within the department’s medical system continued to decline.
- South Korea to provide 10,000 face masks to help Navajo veterans fight coronavirus
(Stars and Stripes)
South Korea will provide 10,000 masks and hand sanitizer to help Navajo veterans of the 1950-53 Korean War fight the coronavirus, the government said Monday.
- ‘Terrified and trapped’: Paralyzed veterans struggle during pandemic
(Stars and Stripes)
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to be a deadly force, paralyzed veterans are struggling to meet their basic needs while facing an especially dire risk from a respiratory infection like COVID-19.
- It's Time for Veterans to Say 'Thank You for Your Service'
Something interesting is happening in light of the COVID-19 pandemic: The public dialogue around the words "hero," "courage," "service" and "patriotism" is shifting. We have seen new champions emerge to meet this global threat.
- Memorial Day brings reminder of COVID-19's toll on veterans
An enemy they did not see coming: Pandemic takes toll among veterans.
- Veterans caregiver program more urgent as coronavirus savages nursing homes
For veterans, getting care in their own homes has gone from a preference to a matter of survival.
- Uber to provide free rides for veterans to VA appointments during COVID-19 pandemic
The Florida Veterans Foundation announced Monday a partnership with Uber to provide veterans with limited free rides to medical appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Veterans who lost limbs learn to game again with adaptive controllers
People with a wide range of disabilities are finding ways to game again, thanks in part to the Xbox adaptive controller.
- Fred Willard Was an Army Veteran, Comedy Legend and Commander of 'Space Force'
Fred Willard, the comic actor whose hilarious roles made him one of the most revered supporting players in Hollywood history, has died in Los Angeles at age 86.
Military Family News
- Family mourns Marine killed in accident, though questions linger
(Task and Purpose)
A U.S. Marine who “always had a smile,” friends say, was laid to rest Saturday after he was killed in a military training accident.
- How COVID-19 Is Affecting Military Families
There’s something distinctive about what members of the American military face during COVID-19: the stress posed by the threat of the most literal “frontline service” in these times of endless war and pandemic.
Across the TAPS Family
- Survivors Together: Department of Veterans Affairs Memorial Day Q&A about benefits
The Department of Veterans Affairs and our community partners TAPS, American Gold Star Mothers, AAFMAA, Wounded Warrior Project, & Travis Manion Foundation will be here on May 20 at 3 p.m. to answer questions.
- TAPS COVID-19 Response
Find resources, services, and support provided 24/7 by TAPS to surviving military families navigating the challenges of COVID-19.
- COVID-19 Government and Partner Resource Update
Learn more about access to and impacts on your government benefits during COVID-19.
- Enjoy the TAPS Talks series on demand
In response to the need to reduce sense of isolation, the new TAPS Talks series brings comfort and connections to those feeling the stressful impacts of social distancing.
- 2020 Virtual National Military Survivor Seminar and Family Program | TAPS
Register to join us, virtually, this Memorial Day weekend to honor our fallen heroes. The Virtual National Military Survivor Seminar and Family Program is offered to all those grieving the loss of a loved one who served in our nation's Armed Forces.
Other Coronavirus News
- 13 Random Acts of Kindness in the Age of Coronavirus That'll Give You Hope
Acts of kindness, no matter how small, can still bring hope during a pandemic.
- Navajo Nation surpasses New York state for the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the U.S.
The Navajo Nation has surpassed New York and New Jersey for the highest per-capita coronavirus infection rate in the US -- another sign of COVID-19's disproportionate impact on minority communities.
- Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine shows positive results, moves to larger studies
Early results from a phase 1 trial showed the vaccine was safe and prompted an immune response in humans.
- IKEA Shares How To Make 6 Types Of Furniture Forts During Quarantine
If you’re quarantining with kids who are becoming increasingly bored, IKEA has your back. The retailer has just released a new campaign, bringing back childhood adventures indoors.
- Stay-at-home orders saved hundreds of thousands, report finds
A new analysis says nearly 250,000 people in the nation's 30 largest cities are alive today because of strict stay-at-home orders issued by local and state governments.
- CDC estimates more than 100,000 deaths by June 1
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.