Families of America’s Fallen Heroes Gather in Washington, D.C. to Honor Loved Ones and Celebrate Memorial Day

24th National Military Survivor Seminar Featured Five Days of Workshops, Grief Resources and Activities to Help Bereaved Families Cope with Loss of Loved Ones Who Served


ARLINGTON, Va. – The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) hosted over 2,000 surviving family members of America’s fallen military heroes, military mentors and special guests from around the world over Memorial Day Weekend as part of its 24th National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp.

“For the families of the fallen…we will share their names, their photos and their stories proudly all weekend long, for all to know them as we know them,” said Bonnie Carroll, TAPS President and Founder and 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, at the opening ceremony. “For the rest of the country, you are asked only for a single moment out of three days to reflect and remember that every action, every liberty, and every joy of your weekend was made possible, not simply because our fallen heroes died, but because such heroes lived.”

The event kicked off on Friday, May 25 with a visit from Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence, and culminated at Arlington National Cemetery with the official ceremonies on Memorial Day, May 28. The program, which included a Good Grief Camp for children and informative workshops for adults focused on coping with traumatic grief, provided many opportunities for surviving family members to remember the life and legacy of their fallen loved ones, including those killed in action, those who died of illness and suicide and those who died as a result of accidents or other circumstances.

This year’s program again featured the TAPS family tree, with photographs of the seminar participants’ fallen heroes on display. Throughout the weekend, family members wrote messages to their loved ones on papers shaped like leaves, took photos and read the messages left by others.

In addition to the participants, almost a thousand volunteers from the local area and beyond were on hand to support the families. This included more than 500 active-duty, National Guard, Reserve members, recent veterans and military spouses who were trained by TAPS to serve as “military mentors” and were paired one-on-one with a child grieving the death of her hero in the TAPS Good Grief Camp.

The 24th TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar & Good Grief Camp was made possible through the generous support of partners including Grunt Style; Lockheed Martin Corporation, New York Life Foundation; A&E Networks; Booz Allen Hamilton; American Greetings, Inc.; Veterans United Foundation; Ashton Tiffany; GEICO; Northrop Grumman Corp.; Optum Serves; Hasbro; United Concordia Dental; Humana; Mission BBQ and Fisher House Foundation.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes and has offered support to more than 75,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and their caregivers since 1994. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge. For more information go to www.taps.org or call the toll-free TAPS resource and information helpline at 1.800.959.TAPS (8277).