The coronavirus pandemic has prohibited the annual gathering of family members of fallen military in D.C. this Memorial Day weekend, so the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, that’s been running for 26 years, has moved its program online.
“We’re really missing that personal connection,” Bonnie Carroll, founder of TAPS, said.
“It’s just so important to look someone in the eye, to have a hug … but we’re doing the best we can … our families have really adapted beautifully.”
Families of fallen military are meeting online for various sessions to connect with each other, seek resources and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Carroll founded TAPS in 1994, two years after her husband Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll and seven others were killed in an Army plane crash.
Saturday’s sessions included remarks by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie and retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Families also took part in workshops on coping with grief and dealing with isolation.
The weekend has even included a virtual campfire and marshmallow roast for children.
But TAPS is doing more: The organization, dedicated to the families of fallen service members, is sharing digital resources on coping with loss and healing as a result of the pandemic.
“What the population is experiencing isn’t that much different than what military families have experienced, especially those who have lost loved ones … what TAPS has to offer is so practical, it’s so comforting,” Carroll said.
“It’s something needed now more than ever.”
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