Honoring the Families of the Fallen, A TAPS Gathering of Survivors

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Written by Robert Yslas, Jr., AUXPA1

(WASHINGTON) – Secretary of Defense James Mattis presents a gift to members of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) visiting the Pentagon.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackie Hart/Released)

The men and women of our armed services sacrifice more than what is asked of them. They leave their families, friends, and loved ones in order to carry out the mission of our country and unfortunately, some pay the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. As loved ones gather around a flag draped casket, families are offered these solemn and heartfelt words, “On behalf of a grateful nation…” The angst of knowing that a service member will be not around for all of their tomorrows is, perhaps, a pain that will never go away. It is in that pain, in that sorrow of being left behind, that an organization rises above the rest to provide strength and support along this difficult journey. The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) provides compassionate care for those grieving for a loved one who has died while in service to our country or as a result of their service. Since 1994, TAPS has provided a peer network of 24/7 service by offering care and hope to surviving families and loved ones at no cost.

This year, on May 26, 2017, more than 300 TAPS family members, all of whom have lost a loved in as a result of their service to our country, gathered at the Pentagon as part of the 23rd Annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp. Participants were greeting by Defense Secretary James Mattis as they arrived at the River Entrance overlooking Washington D.C.’s landmarks. This year marked the third annual TAPS member tour and camp to the Pentagon during the Memorial Day weekend. Mattis told the gathered group of men, women, and children: “We get a lot of important people in this building, but no one is more important to us in our hearts than all of you.”

Secretary Mattis offered encouraging words, with the knowledge that their family’s sacrifice is beyond words, yet survivors and supporters stand together to offer their strength, hope, and love. Participants were treated to two hours of multi-service exhibits, to include the Coast Guard, along with picnics, games, and time spent with members of the National Basketball Association.

 


Leave a Comment




We welcome your comments on postings at all Coast Guard sites/journals. These are sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard to provide a forum to talk about our work providing maritime safety, security and stewardship for the American people to secure the homeland, save lives and property, protect the environment, and promote economic prosperity.

The information provided is for public information only and is not a distress communication channel. People in an emergency and in need of Coast Guard assistance should use VHF-FM Channel 16 (156.8 MHz), dial 911, or call their nearest Coast Guard unit.

All comments submitted are moderated. The Coast Guard retains the discretion to determine which comments it will post and which it will not. We expect all contributors to be respectful. We will not post comments that contain personal attacks of any kind; refer to Coast Guard or other employees by name; contain offensive terms that target specific ethnic or racial groups, or contain vulgar language. We will also not post comments that are spam, are clearly off topic, or that promote services or products.

The U.S. Coast Guard disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from any comments posted on this page. This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

If you have specific questions regarding a U.S. Coast Guard program that involves details you do not wish to share publicly please contact the program point of contact listed at http://www.uscg.mil/global/mail/

The U.S. Coast Guard will not collect or retain Personally Identifiable Information unless you voluntarily provide it to us. To view the U.S. Coast Guards Privacy Policy, please visit: http://www.uscg.mil/global/disclaim.asp

Please note: Anonymous comments have been disabled for this journal. It is preferred that you use your real name when posting a comment. WE WILL POST THE NAME YOU ENTER WHEN YOU SUBMIT YOUR COMMENT. Also, you are welcome to use Open ID or other user technologies that may be available.