The TAPS Daily - May 26, 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 President and founder Bonnie Carroll Shares new resources for the American Public on CNN
Bonnie Carroll speaks with CNN's John King from Fort McHenry that TAPS is still here for survivors 24/7 and recently launched a new resource page for the American Public.
- Video: Remembering military heroes who died by suicide
On Memorial Day, CNN's Brianna Keilar remembers the service members and veterans who died by suicide inextricably linked to their service in the military.
- Army Reservist Is 3rd Service Member to Die from COVID-19
An active-duty service member died from the novel coronavirus over the Memorial Day weekend, becoming the third U.S. military member to fall victim to the pandemic.
- U.S. marks hushed Memorial Day holiday as COVID-19 deaths near 100,000
(Task and Purpose)
Americans paid a mostly low-key tribute to those who died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces on Monday, with many Memorial Day events canceled due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that has killed nearly 100,000 people in the United States alone.
- Memorial Day even more poignant as veterans die from virus
They are among the untold number of veterans who served and survived during times of war only to die in recent weeks from the coronavirus.
- Marine and airman launching to space this week are best buds
(Task and Purpose)
Astronaut launches are back. And astronauts Hurley and Behnken, are about to embark on a journey of a kind that has only taken place five times in American history.
- Watch SpaceX launch live Wednesday
The first launch of American astronauts into orbit on a U.S.-built vehicle from America since 2011 is scheduled for Wednesday, May 27 at 4:33 p.m. Eastern.
TAPS In the News
- They didn't die in combat, but they lived heroic lives. Remembering military heroes who died by suicide
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?
- 'Memorial Day is every day for me'
Opinion by John Kirby, CNN National Security Analyst The coronavirus may forge a closer and more healthy relationship between the American people and their military.
- Detroit Lions' Matt Patricia used to play 'Taps' on his trumpet for Memorial Day. Here's why
(Detroit Free Press)
When he was in high school, Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia gained a special appreciation for Memorial Day. Patricia played the trumpet in the marching band at Vernon Verona Sherrill High School in Sherrill, New York, and every year he would be called upon to attend ceremonies during the holiday that commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.
- Grieving families and veterans face an obstacle for observing Memorial Day — a pandemic
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a group that provides resources and care for those who have lost spouses and family members in uniform, has shifted its annual conference in Virginia to Zoom.
- 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.
- 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.
- ‘We Live With Memorial Day Every Day’: Wife And Son Remember Army Maj. Paul Voelke
Fallen military men and women leave loved ones behind, known as Gold Star Families. One of those families, the Voelkes, is remembering their husband and father, Army Maj. Paul Voelke.
- Arlington National Cemetery limits visits to family members only on Memorial Day
Memorial Day is the day the nation pauses to remember and honor those who served and sacrificed their lives for our nation. This year, in response to Coronavirus concerns, The National Cemetery Administration will not host any public events at the 142 National Cemeteries across the nation.
- This nonprofit is helping honor the fallen on Memorial Day online
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors hosts week-long events this Memorial Day to support families who have lost a loved one serving the country.
- The true meaning of Memorial Day
More than just a day off, Memorial Day is about remembering the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country.
- 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.
- Memorial Day: Fallen Marine's memory still an inspiration 15 years later
Now, 15 years have passed. It's yet another Memorial Day. Taylor would have been 35. And the anniversary of his death hasn’t gotten easier for John. Would he be married? Who would his wife be? Would he have children? What would his kids be like?
- 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<
- TAPS releases special album to honor fallen heroes, including an Air Force One commander
This Memorial Day the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, known as TAPS, is releasing a special music album to pay tribute to our nation's fallen heroes.
- Memory of young soldier lives on through music
The Islams were invited by Tragedy Assistance Programs for Survivors or TAPS to honor Joshua's memory through the Love Lives On album released last Friday.
- Wall of red poppies honors the sacrifices of nearly 650,000 military men and women since WWI
USAA said the wall contains more than 645,000 artificial poppies — one for each life lost in the line of duty since World War One.
- What to do Memorial Day weekend
The Virtual Run Challenge is donating money from registration fees to TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), a program to help the families of fallen heroes.
- How To Watch Memorial Day Events Being Livestreamed This Year
HISTORY, the Wounded Warrior Project, The Greatest Generations Foundation, Heroes of the Second World War, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A., and Combined Arms have partnered with Ancestry to host a virtual “Parade of Heroes” on Monday, May 25, at 11 a.m. on the Ancestry Facebook page.
- This Memorial Day we can remember the reason for the season
(Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Sales and barbecues are fine, but we're in a special position to honor our fallen.
- MLB helping military families
For the past two years, Major League Baseball has honored two military-based charities on Memorial Day in an effort to meaningfully acknowledge what the holiday stands for. The two selected organizations -- the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and Folds of Honor Foundation -- focus on families who have lost loved ones while serving in the military.
- Thousands Of Lights Placed In Dodger Stadium Outfield To Honor Fallen Heroes On Memorial Day
The Los Angeles Dodgers paid tribute to the fallen heroes who served in the United States military. The organization teamed up with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to create a Fallen Heroes Lights display at Dodger Stadium for Memorial Day.
- Honoring Sacrifices of Fallen Soldiers for Memorial Day
The day after Memorial Day 2019, the Vikings held a voluntary Organized Team Activity practice and welcomed families of eight fallen U.S. Military members. TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) helped connect the families with the Vikings.
- 'Love Lives On' Tells Military Stories Through Country Voices
Country music has long held ties to military servicemembers and their families. With Love Lives On, a compilation album featuring several of the genre's big names, the tradition continues in a way that honors soldiers who died in combat, and the ones they left behind.
- ‘Bandstand’ to Stream with Pre-Show Hosted by Corey Cott
(Nerds and Beyond)
The Tony Award-winning musical, Bandstand, will be streaming on Broadway On Demand this Memorial day, May 25.
- What To Watch May 25th To Take Away The Blues
(Times Square Chronicles)
Viewers will be able to watch both the pre-show event and full Broadway production of the musical, for a 24-hour rental period, through June 2, 2020. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), which provides comfort, care and resources to all those grieving the death of a military loved one.
- BANDSTAND to Stream on Broadway On Demand This Monday, With Pre-Show Event
Broadway On Demand will celebrate Memorial Day this year with a very special streaming presentation of Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor's Bandstand, Monday, May 25 on BroadwayOnDemand.com.
Government Relations / Benefits
- Military Stop-Movement Orders to Be Lifted Immediately at Some Bases
The stop-movement order in effect for military families on permanent change-of-station moves, originally set to run through June 30, will be lifted in stages, with some installations to begin accepting transfers immediately, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.
- Push is on to get National Guard troops on coronavirus duty health care help once their missions end
With less than a month before orders expire for National Guard troops responding to the coronavirus pandemic, advocates are pushing lawmakers to ensure their health care needs are covered even after the missions are over.
- 'It feels like there's a void' — Suspension of military honors at national cemetery burials compounds loss
(Task and Purpose)
A bugle playing taps, gun salutes and the presentation of a folded American flag to a mourning family are hallmarks of the military funerals conducted daily for veterans. That changed in March when, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration suspended such ceremonies, leaving families without closure and depriving some veterans of their last wishes.
- On Memorial Day, Benefits For Families Of The Fallen
Over the years, we've struggled with how to honor and compensate those who gave everything to serve our country. That includes sorting out benefits for those who are left behind. Here's a summary of some assistance, much of which is tax-free, that might be available to surviving families.
- 'It's another layer of grief' — Volunteers unable to place flags at national cemeteries due to COVID-19
(Task and Purpose)
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on May 13 made it clear: No en masse placing of flags this year. Individual families may do so during a private visit to the graves, including flowers. Social distancing is encouraged.
- Some Stimulus Payments Are Coming in the Form of Debit Cards
There is a new wrinkle in the long-running saga of government COVID-19 stimulus payments -- debit cards.
- GI Bill For Professional Licenses and Certifications
Reimbursement for licensing and certification tests that have been specifically approved for the GI Bill is provided by the VA.
- VA partners with Dole Foundation, Red Cross to help Veteran caregivers
VA is teaming up with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation (EDF) and the American Red Cross Military Veteran Caregiver Network (MVCN) to provide one-year, free, premium LinkedIn subscriptions to Veteran caregivers.
- The Importance of Military Friendly Schools and Employers
With the possibility of a call to come at any time, the importance of Military Friendly schools and employers is high.
- TRICARE Can Help if You Have a Substance Use Disorder
Substance use abuse can affect anyone. As a TRICARE beneficiary, you or your family member can get the care that's needed. Learn more about the covered services.
- IRRRL Facts for Veterans
IRRRL stands for Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan. You may see it referred to as a "Streamline" or a "VA to VA." These loans are typically used to reduce the borrower's interest rate or to convert an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed rate mortgage.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- Staying Mentally Healthy During Coronavirus
(Give An Hour)
Give an Hour and the Campaign to Change Direction want to underscore the importance of your mental health during this time. Here are some resources for your emotional health as well as your physical health
- Veterans cope with PTSD by writing songs about their experiences
Many service members who return home suffer from PTSD. Operation Song is a program helping veterans cope with their trauma by pairing them with musicians to turn their stories into powerful songs.
- A Day of Grief in a Season of Grief
Service in a war zone was a jolting experience in countless ways, but nothing prepared me for the shock of death.
- How coronavirus stress may scramble our brains
Scientists recognize the pandemic as an opportunity for a massive, real-time experiment on stress. COVID-19 foisted on us a heavy mix of health, economic and social stressors. And the end date is nowhere in sight. Scientists have begun collecting data to answer a range of questions. But one thing is clear: This pandemic has thrown all of us into uncharted territory.
- 3 ways to cut through brain fog and stress onset by pandemic, according to a productivity expert
As with any trauma, accompanying physical or emotional symptoms take their toll. Long-term stress is a normal response to trauma. Considering what's happening in the world, increased wear and tear seems rather appropriate. Here are three essential things that can help you address it.
- ‘Mental Health Is Projected To Become A Pandemic Of Its Own,’ Says Journalist Lisa Ling
From her interviews with top experts in the field of medicine and epidemiology, Ling says mental health is projected to become a pandemic of its own with such aftershocks as anxiety, prolonged grief, complicated depression, and PTSD.
- A New Lens On Mental Health And Well-Being At Work
Workhuman® recently conducted a survey of more than 3,000 full-time U.S. workers across various industries on how they’ve fared during the pandemic.
- 'She's Doing Well:' Esper Discusses Young Sailor Who Took Down Corpus Christi Gunman
The FBI is crediting sailors at a Texas air station with "potentially saving many innocent lives" when they thwarted what the agency has called a terrorism-related attack at their base Thursday.
- President Speaks at Fort McHenry, Likening Military Service to Those on Front Lines of Coronavirus Fight
President Donald Trump gave a Memorial Day address at Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Monday honoring recent and past fallen military members and likening their service to those on the front lines battling the coronavirus.
- As Rangers Face Isolation and Stress, Army Chaplain Goes to New Lengths to Reach Them
Army Ranger Chaplain Maj. Jon Knoedler offers perspective to soldiers wrestling with the uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Student-Veterans Activated to Combat COVID-19 Pandemic
They are among the best and brightest Rutgers University–Camden students, exemplary scholars who rank at the top of their respective disciplines. But they are soldiers first.
- These Soldiers Fought Off COVID-19 and Still Graduated Basic Training
Two of the U.S. Army newest soldiers recently earned bragging rights by completing Basic Combat Training after surviving bouts with the novel coronavirus.
- Honor the memory of the fallen by supporting those they leave behind
Honor the memory of those we have lost by supporting and protecting those who remain with every resource available.
- Pentagon's No. 2 IG Official Resigns After Being Passed Over
The No. 2 official in the Pentagon's office of inspector general, Glenn Fine, resigned Tuesday, several weeks after he was effectively removed as head of a special board to oversee auditing of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus economic relief package.
- On Memorial Day veterans count who we've lost, knowing there'll be more to count next year
Every war we keep fighting means that we have to bury more soldiers like my friend Tyler.
- Veterans' unemployment during coronavirus outpaces rest of U.S.
As states continue to slowly ease coronavirus-related restrictions and reopen their economies, millions continue to be impacted by job losses, particularly veterans, who face a dire economic landscape.
- Remembering the fallen veterans of the 1918 pandemic
(Task and Purpose)
The first outbreak of the 1918 influenza virus in the U.S. had been reported at Fort Riley, an Army base in Kansas, and by the time it reached San Diego, it had infected 20,000 soldiers at two-dozen camps around the country.
- Medal of Honor Sought for U.S. Korean War Pilot
E. Royce Williams is being called a forgotten hero in a forgotten war — a military pilot whose heroic action was never fully recognized because his mission was filed away as top secret.
- Army vet turned country star Craig Morgan on service, loss, and his favorite MRE
(Task and Purpose)
Country music star Craig Morgan is well-acquainted with loss. The 17-year Army veteran (including over 10 years on active duty) tragically lost his 19-year-old son Jerry in 2016, leading, for a time, to doubts about his future as a musician.
- An 'Oorah' to the 8th Sergeant Major of the USMC as he turns 90
(Marine Corps Times)
The 8th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, John R. Massaro, turned 90 on May 22, 2020, and besides being the oldest living Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, he just may be one of the reasons why all Marines say “Oorah” today.
- This Memorial Day, remember the 'others'
While Americans traditionally honor our fallen battlefield heroes on Memorial Day, the COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder that pestilence can be as deadly as bombs and bullets.
- Meet the 80-year-old Vietnam veteran volunteering on the front lines of Seattle's COVID-19 fight
(Task and Purpose)
Shaw, 80, served in the U.S. Army as a staff sergeant and was stationed in Vietnam from 1967-’69. Half a century later, Shaw is on the front lines of a very different battle.
- Decorated Air Force pilot who served in three wars, became world-class marksman passes from COVID-19
(Task and Purpose)
He lived for more than eight decades with a bullet lodged in the back of his head. On April 25, he died from complications of the coronavirus.
- Chinese American WWII veterans, families waiting on Congressional Gold Medal
(Stars and Stripes)
The Congressional Gold Medal was to be awarded collectively to the Chinese veterans — approximately 90% of whom are now deceased — in an April 29 ceremony at Emancipation Hall in the nation’s capital. Congress passed the recognition act in late 2018.
- Sports Heroes Who Served
Almost every sporting event in the United States has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an absence noted by the many service members who are ardent sports fans and enjoy playing sports. Because the games are mostly on hold, here's a look at a few sports legends who also served in the military.
- A new monument will honor F-14 Tomcats and the aviators who lost their lives flying them
(Task and Purpose)
A new F-14 Tomcat monument will be installed next month in the existing Naval Aviation Monument Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In addition to those who died flying the famed jet, it will honor crew members who built and sustained the aircraft.
Military Family News
- Fallen Marine's Mom: We Will Rebuild Memorial Lost to Flood
The mother of a Marine who was killed in Iraq is pledging to rebuild a war memorial that was destroyed by a dam failure in central Michigan.
- Our son died in training at Camp Pendleton. He could have been saved
(Task and Purpose)
Five young Marines from Camp Pendleton died in preventable "rollover" accidents in the last year. How many more of our military will die, needlessly?
- How those left behind are reflecting on love and loss this Memorial Day
(Task and Purpose)
As the country prepares to remember its honored dead this Memorial Day, it is important to also remember the families and friends of the fallen whose lives have been irrevocably changed.
- 3 Ways Military Families Can Help Others Find Silver Linings
Military families are resilient, adaptable, flexible and prepared for uncertainty. The circumstances we regularly face provide many lessons that can benefit those outside of our community, if we're willing to share in a way that makes them want to listen.
- 4 Big Money Mistakes Military Families Make
We have often discussed mistakes that military families make with their personal finances. It's true that even small mistakes can wear away at the foundation of your financial plans, but big mistakes will break up that foundation even faster.
Across the TAPS Family
- TAPS families share names and photos of their fallen heroes on Memorial Day
This Memorial Day, we invite you all to speak their names and share the lives of your fallen heroes in the comments below.
- General Martin Dempsey & U.S. Army Downrange Perform 'America' for Memorial Day
TAPS Board Member, Gen. Martin Dempsey shares the song and the story behind it which he and U.S. Army Downrange wrote for Memorial Day.
- Mixed emotions about Memorial Day | TAPS Saturday Morning Message
If someone were to greet you saying 'Happy Memorial Day' how would you respond? Has your answer changed since your loss?
- Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Upcoming Events | TAPS
The latest 2020 schedule of events across the TAPS Family.
Other Coronavirus News
- Just as COVID-19 cases keep rising in 17 states, holiday revelers cram together without masks
Packing pool parties and other Memorial Day events, many Americans marked the unofficial start of summer just like they did before coronavirus.
- Nearing 100,000 COVID-19 Deaths, U.S. Is Still 'Early In This Outbreak'
The bleak milestone the U.S. is about to hit — 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 — is far above the number of deaths seen from the pandemic in any other country.
- 'I'm looking for the truth': States face criticism for COVID-19 data cover-ups
As states ramp up their reopenings, some are coming under criticism for making public misleading statistics or concealing information related to the coronavirus outbreak.
- 'Wear the Cap, Donate the Gown': Student Helps Donate Graduation Gowns to Hospitals in Need
(Good News Network)
With millions of young American students graduating from university every year, the ingenious donation scheme could potentially end the PPE demand for gowns in just a few days.
- Worried Americans desperate to travel are buying up 'covid campers'
(Stars and Stripes)
Cooped-up Americans desperate to get out after months of lockdowns are dreaming of doing something-anything-that resembles a vacation. But a majority of them worry a second wave of the coronavirus is coming, and think politicians have pushed too fast to reopen. That's where the "covid camper" comes in.
- The most-searched recipes on Google to inspire your next quarantine meal
As people are stuck at home during the pandemic, cooking has turned into a newfound hobby to cure boredom and sometimes a necessity as restaurant food is less accessible.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.