The TAPS Daily - May 21, 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.
- Military families who faced war deaths help COVID mourners with loss without goodbye
As Memorial Day approaches, military families who have faced the loss of a service member have noticed that their cycle of grief is strikingly similar to what Americans who lost a family member to the coronavirus are now facing.
- PHOTOS: Army's Old Guard places flags at servicemembers' graves ahead of Memorial Day
The Old Guard, designated as the Army’s official ceremonial unit in 1948, has conducted the "flags-in" mission prior to Memorial Day for more than 50 years - with soldiers placing small U.S. flags by each grave at Arlington National Cemetery.
- Mental well-being that's attainable: Just start here
How a Medal of Honor recipient prepares himself to deal with his mental well-being in the run up to Memorial Day.
- Former White House employee who served 11 presidents dies of coronavirus at 91
A former White House butler who served 11 presidents has died at 91 after contracting the coronavirus, his granddaughter confirmed to NBC News Thursday.
- Dad Who Teaches Basic Skills On YouTube Goes Viral
He knows what it’s like to not have a father around to help with the, “Dad, how do I . . . ?” skills, so Rob Kenney teaches them now on his YouTube channel for other people who don’t have a dad to ask.
- What's Inside Arlington Cemetery's Time Capsule?
On October 13, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson spread the mortar for the cornerstone of the Arlington Cemetery Memorial Amphitheater. Unlike most cornerstones, this foundational rock was hollow: Hidden within was a copper box filled with items emblematic of American life in the year construction began.
Memorial Day News
- Secretary of Defense Hosts Wreath Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day
Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper will host a wreath ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 25, at 9 a.m. Eastern to honor our men and women in uniform who have died while serving our nation. The event will be live-streamed on Defense.gov.
- On Memorial Day, Should Americans Mourn or Celebrate?
Given the deep implications of Memorial Day, the question arises; do we ‘observe’ Memorial Day or do we ‘celebrate’ it? It’s not a simple question of semantics. Words have meaning and this meaning is attached to the subject of how it is used.
- Especially now, Memorial Day remains a time to honor America’s fallen military heroes
(We Are The Mighty)
To elevate Americans' understanding, USAA today announced a Memorial Day national tribute that encourages all Americans to honor the more than 645,000 fallen military heroes even during this time period when the traditional parades and large gatherings have been cancelled or minimized.
- Motivated by their lives: Honoring the fallen this Memorial Day
(We Are The Mighty)
Memorial Day brings visions of outdoor family barbeques, filled beaches and the unofficial kickoff to summertime. But it's so much more than that. It's the one day a year we set aside to honor those who willingly died to defend our freedoms in service to this nation.
- 3 Ways to Observe Memorial Day
This year’s Memorial Day will be very different from those in the past for most Americans. But the tradition of remembering and honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country is steadfast.
- Here's what Memorial Day weekend at Arlington National Cemetery looks like amid COVID-19
Time-honored Memorial Day traditions will look a bit different this year at Arlington National Cemetery due to coronavirus pandemic.
- Group giving over 6K flowers to Gold Star families at Arlington Cemetery for Memorial Day
One group is working to provide some extra comfort for Gold Star families at Arlington National Cemetery.
- 'The Saluting Marine' will honor veterans on Memorial Day Weekend
On Sunday at noon in Washington D.C., a veteran Marine who has gained national attention over the years as “The Standing Marine” will still hold his salute for 24 hours straight in honor of Memorial Day Weekend.
- The History Of Memorial Day: When Was The First, And Who Founded It?
(BBC History Magazine)
25 May 2020 marks Memorial Day, a day when America honours its war dead. Here, historian Peter Caddick-Adams explores the origins of this national holiday, which date back to 1868.
- You can still honor the fallen from a distance
This Memorial Day is going to be quite different from ones we usually experience. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still observe Memorial Day in a meaningful way. Here are a few of the ways.
- This year's annual Memorial Day motorcycle ride will be quieter than past rallies, but not silent
Plans to revive the annual Rolling Thunder event this year have been altered by the coronavirus pandemic.
- AAA offering Memorial Day discount to active duty military and veterans
From May 21-26, 2020 military members and veterans can use code MILITARY on AAA.com to get a 20 percent discount on new memberships.
TAPS In the News
- How to Buy Coney Island Hot Dogs in Quarantine
(Rachael Ray Magazine)
Here's how to kick off Memorial Day with an original famous Coney Island frankfurter from the comfort of your own home.
- Rep. Cisneros introduces bill to expand Veterans Survivor Benefits
(Orange County Breeze)
Representatives Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA-39), Ted Yoho (R-FL-3), TJ Cox (D-CA-21), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ-2), and Jahana Hayes (D-CT-5) introduced the Caring for Survivors Act of 2020. The act would increase dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) for surviving dependents and lower the threshold of eligibility to allow certain survivors to receive this benefit who currently do not meet the requirements.
- 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.
- 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
- Representative TJ Cox Introduces Bill to Expand Veterans Survivor Benefits
Representative TJ Cox (D-CA-21) along with Representatives Gil Cisneros (D-CA-39), Ted Yoho (R-FL-3), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ-2) and Jahana Hayes (D-CT-5) introduced the Caring for Survivors Act of 2020. TAPS is honored to join with these Representatives to support this important legislation that would improve Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for survivors who lost their loved ones to a service-related injury or illness.
- Legislative Update: Introducing The Caring For Survivors Act (H.R. 6933)
The Caring for Survivors Act would increase dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) for surviving dependents and lower the threshold of eligibility to allow certain survivors to receive this benefit who currently do not meet the requirements. TAPS is honored to join in supporting this important legislation. Watch TAPS, partners, and Congressional representatives discuss the impacts of this proposed law.
- As the Military Restarts Elective Surgeries, Some Troops Will Have Top Priority
Patients in the military health system whose scheduled or planned surgeries were postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic may soon be able to set up their procedures, under guidance released Thursday by the Defense Department.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- How to Avoid Burnout, Even at Home
When you are feeling like you are pushing a boulder up a hill going nowhere, take some time to recharge your batteries.
- Grief and Coronavirus: How to Be There When You Can't Truly Be There
The way we grieve has, during COVID-19, changed dramatically. But there are still ways to be there for those who need you.
- Filling the care gap for spouses of service members struggling with mental health issues
Being a spouse of a member who struggles with mental health issues is the hardest thing I have walked through. Thankfully, there are organizations and people are stepping up to fill in the care gap.
- Navy Medicine Preps for Expected Surge in Mental Health Needs
The novel coronavirus pandemic may forever alter the way the U.S. Navy delivers psychiatric care and therapy to sailors, Marines and military dependents.
- Suicide risk for veterans could grow as coronavirus crisis winds down
Veterans’ isolation and stress from the coronavirus pandemic could increase their chances of suicidal thoughts, but health experts are warning that the worst impacts to their mental health could come after the immediate crisis is over.
- Mental Health Impacts May Outlast Pandemic, Study Finds
The mental health impacts of COVID-19 may linger after the pandemic is over. Widespread job losses, media overload and the isolating effects of social distancing may lead to an increase in mental health problems, experts warn.
- How to Stretch for Stress Relief
This 10-minute dynamic stretching routine will iron your kinks out.
- COVID-19 is probably going to put a dent in military manpower
The Defense Department is bracing for a manning gap this year, the Pentagon’s top personnel official told reporters Thursday, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the services to slow their intake of new troops.
- The ban on COVID-19 survivors joining up has lifted, but some cases could still be denied
Ohio National Guard units will be going to nursing homes this week to test for the coronavirus as the death toll continues to climb at a fast pace among long-term care residents, Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday.
- South Carolina National Guard lieutenant who died in non-combat incident on Bagram identified
The Pentagon announced the death of a U.S. soldier on Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, Thursday morning.
- Naval Air Station Corpus Christi Shooting 'Terrorism-Related,' FBI Says
The incident involving an active shooter at a Texas naval air station was "terrorism-related," an FBI official said on Thursday.
- Aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt returns to sea after coronavirus outbreak
After nearly two months sidelined in Guam with a coronavirus outbreak, the USS Theodore Roosevelt has gone out to sea for training, in preparation to return to duty in the Pacific.
- Coast Guard Academy Class of 2020 Told Pandemic Will Prepare Them to Be Leaders
The Coast Guard Academy's largest and most diverse class graduated Wednesday, starting their careers as new officers in the Coast Guard at an unprecedented time, as the U.S. and much of the world continue to grapple with the novel coronavirus pandemic and its upheaval of daily lives.
- We salute 'The Dude' for being 'the coolest military working dog ever'
(Task and Purpose)
In addition to serving six years as a military working dog who's currently deployed with Force Protection in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, The Dude likes to carry his tug-of-war toy and will play with anyone that's willing.
- Veteran Caregivers Are the Unsung Heroes of the Military Community
There are an estimated 5.5 million veteran caregivers -- the friends, lovers and family who take care of American military veterans who are seriously injured, ill or carry the invisible wounds of war.
- This Marine received the Medal of Honor for his skills with a flamethrower
(We Are The Mighty)
Hershel "Woody" Williams is the last living Medal of Honor recipient from Iwo Jima. He singlehandedly took out seven Japanese pillboxes with his flamethrower that day. Woody, is a good friend of TAPS and helps honor families of the fallen across the country with Gold Star memorials.
- Coronavirus News: Boy Scout honors veterans by playing taps nightly outside Paramus Veterans Home
A solemn performance in New Jersey honors the veterans who have died during this pandemic.
- Financial fallout of COVID-19 hits Montana ranch that helps female veterans fight PTSD
The economic fallout of COVID-19 is taking a toll on Serenity Ranch and is forcing the horse rescue facility to roll back its critical equine therapy programs for female veterans and to sell nearly 40 acres of land.
- A new headstone for a WWI soldier at Arlington
Family researcher discovers error on headstone and works with Arlington National Cemetery to correct.
Military Family News
- Army wife competes on NBC's 'The Titan Games' | Military Spouses
(We Are The Mighty)
When a locked-down America tunes into the May 25 premiere of NBC's "The Titan Games", sports-starved viewers may notice a former Olympian and military spouse competing for the title.
Across the TAPS Family
- We’ve Always Been in This Together
For many families of the fallen this is the first Memorial Day weekend they’ve spent apart from their peers in a long time. That bond is still flourishing online as they connect across the miles, virtually, to honor their heroes together
- USAA Memorial Day - Honor Through Action
Remember those who gave their lives by serving their nation. USAA, a strong supporter of TAPS, hosts an online Memorial Day campaign with many ways Americans can pay tribute to the fallen.
- When you buy a Feltman's hot dog, you are supporting a veteran-owned business
Feltman’s is in the middle of a campaign leading up to Memorial Day. A portion of the proceeds from its online sales will go to support the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to provide resources for families of the fallen.
- USAA donates $6.3 million for coronavirus relief in San Antonio
TAPS partner, USAA, donates $6.3 million for coronavirus relief in San Antonio, where the company is headquartered.
- Centene to Waive Some Costs for Medicare Advantage Members for Remainder of 2020
TAPS partner, Centene Corporation, announced new efforts to help support its nearly 1 million Medicare Advantage members during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Centene Announces Health Disparities Task Force
(Tribune Ledger News)
TAPS partner, Centene Corporation, announced it has convened a group of medical, non-profit and community leaders to form the Centene Health Disparities Task Force to further enhance Centene's leadership and commitment to ensuring underserved populations have access to quality healthcare.
Other Coronavirus News
- 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.
- Old 1918 pandemic is a murky guide for sports
(Stars and Stripes)
To play or not to play is still the essential dilemma a century later but football — and sports — will return at some point, as it did in 1919.
- 64 Scavenger Hunt Clues to Keep Kids Busy in Quarantine
(We Are The Mighty)
These tasks will help kids play independently — and give parents five minutes of quiet.
- Watch Illuminated Drones Create Beating Heart to Honor Healthcare Workers in Rotterdam Sky
(Good News Network)
The Amsterdam design firm Studio Drift launched another special edition of their spectacular drone light show—this time presenting a moving red heart beating in the sky as a tribute to healthcare workers.
- Broadway Veterans Offer Master Classes During Quarantine
With Broadway shut down, what’s a world-class stage actor to do? Many of them have filled their time appearing in online master classes offered by Bridge to Broadway, an organization launched during the pandemic by veteran Broadway actor Erik Liberman.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.