The TAPS Daily - May 22, 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.
- VIDEO: TAPS MEMORIAL DAY SALUTE
On Memorial Day, for all who have served, for whose names now reside in stone - you are forever in our hearts and we remember you.
- Families of our fallen military heroes cope with Memorial Day changes due to COVID-19
“Memorial Day means that we get to honor Bill." A widow of an Army Major from Maryland talks about the family's new plans to pay tribute, as the coronavirus pandemic changes so many Memorial Day traditions.
- Losing a military parent: kids find help at Good Grief Camp
Even though the in-person gathering and annual Good Grief Camp wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery won't happen this year, TAPS is making its camp sessions and talks available virtually, and TAPS mentors are calling every camp kid to see how they’re doing.
- Angry Americans Podcast Episode 60: Bonnie Carroll and Memorial Day in a Pandemic
Paul Rieckhoff shares a powerful conversation with Medal of Freedom recipient and legendary TAPS Founder Bonnie Carroll (@bonnie_at_taps) and how this Memorial Day will be unlike any other.
- Observe Memorial Day, help military families during COVID-19
How to observe Memorial Day and help military families from home during the pandemic. Many events have been canceled because of COVID-19, but there are still ways to show support.
- Love Lives On Music Album Released for Memorial Day
Love Lives On: The TAPS Album is available today for download and streaming on all major platforms -- Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play. Listen to hear the stories of 10 fallen military heroes penned by the surviving family members who loved them. All proceeds from the Album benefit TAPS families.
- Loved ones share memories of veterans who died in coronavirus outbreak at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home
(Stars and Stripes)
Each of their stories was different, but common strains repeat: Of humility and generosity; of finding joy in the unpretentious; of a sharp mind disappearing into fog or a hale body betrayed by age.
Memorial Day News
- A Memorial Day Tribute from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley
Today we honor the extraordinary sacrifice of not only these service members but also their families. Especially our Gold Star families. Each individual loss brings untold grief. Each loss is a hope never realized. Each loss is a dream never reached. Everyone was a son or a daughter. A husband or a wife. A mother or a father. Each is a gaping hole of grief that can never be adequately filled.
- Chief of Staff of the Army: Memorial Day 2020
Memorial Day message from Army Chief of Staff, General James C. McConville.
- First Army Memorial Day Message
First Army remembers Memorial Day by highlighting a World War II-era Soldier from the Quad Cities who was killed in action during the last days of the war. It is narrated by First Army's Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Thomas James Jr., and filmed in the Rock Island Cemetery located on Rock Island, Illinois.
- Naval Special Warfare Command Memorial Day Message
(Naval Special Warfare Command)
Rear Adm. Collin Green, commander, Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) and his wife Alyssa share a Memorial Day message and take a moment to reflect on the brave men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to the nation.
- Flags In 2020
(Arlington National Cemetery)
On Thursday, May 21, Soldiers from 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment placed flags at every gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery.
- TAPS ACROSS AMERICA: The National Moment Of Remembrance Memorial Day 2020
(Taps for Veterans)
The National Moment of Remembrance is an annual event that asks Americans, wherever they are at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, to pause for a duration of one minute to remember those who have died in military service to the United States.
- Grant - History Channel Mini Series Special for Memorial Day
The History Channel will premiere a three part miniseries this Memorial Day on the life of Ulysses S. Grant. “Grant” tells the remarkable and quintessentially American story of a humble man who overcomes incredible obstacles, rises to the highest ranks of power and saves the nation not once, but twice.
- Honoring a Father I Don't Remember on Memorial Day
Every Memorial Day is a reminder that he is gone. While I can honor his service, I cannot easily preserve his memory, because I have no memories of my own. I'm not alone. An estimated 20,000 children lost fathers on the American side of the Vietnam War.
- Create an online memorial for a loved one on the Veterans Legacy Memorial Website
In time for Memorial Day 2020, VA’s National Cemetery Administration (NCA) has enhanced capabilities on the Veterans Legacy Memorial (VLM) website for family, friends, and visitors to leave tributes or comments on a Veteran’s memorial page.
- 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.
- Memorial Day Doesn’t Need To Be Treated As A National Military Funeral
(Task and Purpose)
The best way to think of Memorial Day is not as a national military funeral, but as a national wake. We’ve already shed our tears for fallen comrades. There’s nothing wrong with shedding a few more but a better way to cherish their memories is to spend a moment reflecting on all the good things their sacrifices enabled the rest of us to enjoy.
- How a Gold Star mother honors Memorial Day amid COVID-19
(Task and Purpose)
Gold Star Mother Natalie Healy calls the distinction a club that no one wants to be a part of, and for her, she said every day is Memorial Day since her son, Daniel Healy, was killed in Afghanistan in 2005.
- WE REMEMBER: Memorial Day 2020
(Air Force Association)
The Air Force Association pays tribute to those who served and died.
TAPS In the News
- This Memorial Day, honor through action. Here's how.
(We Are The Mighty)
There's a reverence that surrounds Memorial Day in the military community. A day that's typically associated with summer barbecues and mattress sales has a very different meaning to those of us who understand that "the fallen" we're all asked to honor are our brothers and sisters in arms, husbands, wives, mommies, daddies, friends.
- Point: Memorial Day Is Not for Sale
Are we decently honoring those who have given their all for us, if we’re focused on clinching the deal of a lifetime or grilling those burgers to perfection?
- Hot Dog Sales Are Red-Hot. These Weiner Businesses are Giving Back
In normal times, Memorial Day weekend might be the first time you’d consider buying hot dogs since last summer. But of course, these are not normal times.
- 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.
- Veterans Corner: From Decoration Day to Memorial Day
This week, leading up to Memorial Day, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) will present a virtual National Military Survivor Seminar and Family Program as an online event available to everyone, at no cost.
- 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
- 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 coronavirus deaths rise, but cases drop, VA defends continued use of controversial drug
Veterans Affairs officials said this week they’ll continue to use a controversial anti-malarial drug in treatment for coronavirus patients despite medical studies showing significant health risks associated with the medicine.
- Even pre-coronavirus, military families struggled to get mental health care appointments, survey says
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, military families were having trouble getting the mental health care they needed, according to new data from an online survey conducted in late 2019.
- VA gave hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 to 1,300 veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has used hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus for approximately 1,300 veterans, according to a letter sent to the top Senate Democrat.
- Veterans Affairs Launches First Chatbot to Field COVID-19 Questions
The Veterans Affairs Department recently deployed a coronavirus chatbot to help veterans and their caregivers find answers to pressing questions triggered amid the pandemic.
- VA is here for women Veterans during COVID-19 and beyond
In this time of physical distancing, VA knows it’s easy for women Veterans to feel isolated. Life plans and health can change in an instant. That is why VA is working to remove barriers and improve access to essential services. These services include reproductive health care, refilling prescriptions, and accessing the Veterans Crisis Line and Women Veterans Call Center.
- American Legion supports bipartisan legislation extending VA health benefits to WWII veterans
Bipartisan legislation was introduced by U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., on May 21, WWII Veterans Hospital and Medical Eligibility Act, that would ensure all World War II veterans are eligible for health care services provided by the VA.
- T-Mobile Stands Strong with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as Telehealth Visits Surge 800%
(Olean Times Herald)
T-Mobile’s nationwide service keeps veterans in rural communities connected to their doctors and has the bandwidth to support this huge surge in VA telehealth visits.
- Active duty more likely than civilians to report money stolen from their bank accounts, FTC finds
Active duty members are reporting identity theft at much higher rates than non-military consumers, according to new data just released by the Federal Trade Commission.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- A Playlist for the Pandemic
From one stressed-out COVID shut-in to all of you out there doing your best to get through the day, here is a pandemic playlist.
- Joe Biden tears up talking grief with Stephen Colbert
While we all know we're in a crisis, not just nationally but globally, not enough attention is being paid to the necessity for grief right now. For the grief for the loss of close to 100,000 people so far. There hasn't been a public expression from the top of that grief, which helps guide the country's soul in times of crisis like this.
- 30 gifts for someone dealing with grief
We can't support those mourning right now in ways we might want to — with a hug or a visit. So what should we do or give to help them cope?
- Lockdown causing 'acute grief' for bereaved
The pandemic is causing "acute levels of grief" among people who have lost members of their family, a Scottish bereavement charity has said.
- Mental health crisis puts everyone on the front lines
Our nation had a mental health crisis before the coronavirus, but recent statistics and anecdotal evidence show that it’s going to get even worse.
- Mental health: How to care for yourself during the pandemic
All this stress comes along at a time when parts of our society were already at risk. There are key signs you can look for, in yourself and in loved ones, that can signal growing anxiety, depression, panic attacks or other potential adverse behaviors.
- Am I Depressed? The Coronavirus Mental-Health Crisis
Suddenly, many people meet the criteria for clinical depression. Doctors are scrambling to determine who needs urgent intervention, and who is simply the new normal.
- Class of 2020: Grieving the losses of COVID-19
As someone who knows loss, a widow and mom of a high school senior tells teens and parents their graduation grief is real.
- As ‘normal’ crumbles, young people are turning their grief into action
Young people are leading the way, showing us how to turn grief into action. They understand that we have two choices at this point: transform or collapse.
- DoD coronavirus deaths spiked this week
The Defense Department’s COVID-19 death toll jumped more than 18 percent this week, as five deaths brought the overall numbers to 32, according to data released Friday.
- SecDef 'Absolutely Confident' US Will Have a COVID-19 Vaccine by Year's End
(Stars and Stripes)
The race is heating up for a vaccine against COVID-19, and the U.S. military is vying for the win, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday.
- SECDEF “concerned” about shootings, supportive of 90-day missions for Guardsmen
Defense Secretary Mark Esper made a Today Show appearance on Friday, capping off a week of tragedy and controversy for the department and the military.
- In bid for more female pilots, Air Force removes height requirement
(Air Force Times)
The Air Force has removed the initial height requirements for officers who wish to become aviators, which it feared was discouraging women from even applying to become pilots.
- State orders are a con — federalizing the National Guard should be the go-to for most missions
Federalizing the Guard should be the go-to way the military does business until State Active Duty gets a dramatic overhaul.
- For Some, Teleworking May Continue as Post-COVID-19 Option
In April, the Defense Department's chief information officer said some of the tools and infrastructure put in place to support the rise of telework due to COVID-19 might remain after the pandemic subsides. Now, department leaders say, it is possible telework itself may live on.
- Army in Stuttgart, once a coronavirus hot spot, reports no new infections over three weeks
(Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart has gone three weeks without a new confirmed coronavirus infection, military officials said, marking the longest stretch without one in months for a command that once had more than 100 cases.
- Plans in place to safely welcome Class of 2020 back to West Point
The first members of the Class of 2020 began their return to West Point prior to their graduation ceremony June 13.
- Air Force cancels fitness assessments over coronavirus concerns
(Stars and Stripes)
The Air Force has postponed physical fitness testing for its service members through Oct. 1 as a precautionary measure against spreading coronavirus, according to a memo released Thursday.
- Cannon AFB Provides Food on the Front Lines of COVID-19
In addition to continuing normal operations at the dining facility, the 27th Special Operations Force Support Squadron's services flight has provided more than 2,500 meals since May 7 for delivery to Cannon airmen who are in quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Navy, Army Partner for 3D Printing of COVID-19 Test Swabs
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, and the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity at Fort Detrick, Maryland, finalized a memorandum of agreement to support the production and delivery of 3D-printed nasopharyngeal test swabs needed to support diagnostic testing for COVID-19.
- Washington State Guardsmen Build COVID-19 Test Kits
Testing for COVID-19 was one of the pillars of Washington Gov. Jay R. Inslee's recovery plan for his state. Ensuring that test kits are readily available has been a team effort among professionals with the Department of Health, AmeriCorp and a dozen members of the Washington National Guard.
- Army to 3D-print replacement parts for aging Black Hawk
(Task and Purpose)
The partnership between the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command and Wichita State involves researchers at the National Institute for Aviation Research. The purpose is to “resolve challenges and boost efficiencies” for the aging helicopter fleet as it faces maintenance and supply chain issues.
- Disney's Veteran of the Day Tribute
(Disney Parks )
To those who serve and have served in the Armed Forces, we are so grateful for all you have done for us. We know there are thousands of stories like Master Sergeant Steve Warner’s and today we raise the flag high in your honor. Here at Disney Parks, we are all about magic, but there is a unique magic about you and your selfless drive to serve your country.
- How veteran business owners are using their military crisis skills during the pandemic
For many of the nation’s 2.5 million veteran-owned small businesses, the financial strain from the coronavirus pandemic increases with each passing day. But the veterans say the skills they developed during their service have taught them how to handle the unexpected.
- StoryCorps: Nuremberg Trials Guard Dies Of COVID-19
Around Memorial Day of 2000, Emily Aho took her then 75-year-old father, Emilio "Leo" DiPalma, on a trip back to Germany, where the World War II veteran served as a guard at the Nuremberg Trials. Coming up on Memorial Day two decades later, Aho holds those memories with him especially close. Last month, DiPalma died of complications from COVID-19 at 93 years old in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
- Family finds obituary for Iowa veteran thought to have no relatives
(Des Moines Register)
Barbara Ann Miller was shocked to see her brother’s high school graduation picture in the Des Moines Register, and even more shocked to see that it accompanied an obituary saying he had no known family members.
Military Family News
- Gold Star family fighting to honor fallen son this Memorial Day
As Memorial Day approaches, one Gilbert family is in a battle with their Home Owner’s Association because of their attempt to honor their son.
- Face masks and gown or virtual? Graduation ceremonies for DODEA Europe schools adapt to coronavirus
(Stars and Stripes)
Principals at 21 DODEA schools in eight countries have developed graduation plans along with military officials that incorporate the new normal imposed by the pandemic.
- DODEA-Pacific schools plan in-person ceremonies to supplement virtual graduations
(Stars and Stripes)
Defense Department high schools in the Pacific are planning limited, in-person graduation ceremonies as some U.S. military bases start to loosen restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
Across the TAPS Family
- The Making of the Album Love Lives On
In 2019, TAPS embarked upon a very special recording project of ten original songs that honor the lives and dedication of our servicemen and women written by TAPS families alongside some of the best songwriters in Nashville. The songs have been compiled into our Album: Love Lives On, released Memorial Day weekend 2020.
- 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.
- 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.
- Financial Wellness Resources for TAPS Families
Through Military Reconnect, TAPS helps those who are grieving the death of a loved one with access to free financial wellness resources. Register now to get started.
- 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.
- Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Upcoming Events | TAPS
The latest 2020 schedule of events across the TAPS Family.
Other Coronavirus News
- Americans venture out for holiday travel in a test of containment
(Stars and Stripes)
Americans are fleeing weeks of home isolation for beaches, parks and other leisure destinations over the Memorial Day weekend — and that has pandemic experts and businesses concerned about a spike in coronavirus cases.
- Schools will need to make these changes to protect students from coronavirus, expert says
When students finally return to school, sweeping changes will be in place to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
- Pandemic changes the rhythms, routines of summertime in Washington, D.C.
Stars and Stripes)
Across the country, Washington is known as the seat of politics and government, with all that entails.But to those who live here, Washington is also a community — one that shows itself best during the summer, in neighborhoods, on the National Mall and in the spirit of the good weather.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.