Tomorrow is Memorial Day. For one day each year, our entire nation remembers our fallen soldiers. This post is in memory of our grandson Army PFC Gregory Tilton, a casualty of war in November 2009. Our 20-year-old grandson was a boy soldier. This is my way of honoring and remembering Greg’s loving and gentle spirit.
On this day I like to share information about very important organizations like the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and all the wonderful programs they have for the survivors — the children, siblings, spouses, parents, grandparents and family members — to help them move through the grief process. When we first learned of our grandson’s death, TAPS was available to our family.
This Memorial Day weekend, the families of America’s fallen heroes descend upon Washington D.C., to participate in National Military Survivor Seminar & Good Grief Camp for Young Survivors. They gather in love, to celebrate the lives of their loved ones, share their journeys, learn coping strategies and find comfort in being together. With the staggering increase in suicides in the military, attending a TAPS program can help with the stigma many loved ones feel. They are there to support.
Since I like to focus on healing for children, I want to share more about the USO/TAPS Good Grief Camp Outs for kids. The camps are designed for kids between the ages of six and eighteen who have lost a parent or sibling who was serving in the military. The camp outs are three days and two nights. According to TAPS, they include traditional and military themed camp activities, grief education, and emotional support. The camp is run by the TAP staff and military mentors. This camp is the one place where children find comfort in knowing that there are other campers who understand what they are feeling and experiencing. The kids also participate in fun outdoor activities like fishing, swimming, hay rides, campfires and much more.
This summer there will be four Good Grief Camp Out locations: Fort Bray/Camp Lejeune area, Fort Hood Fort Carson, and Camp Pendleton. Please check our the TAPS website for more information about the Camp Out dates and registration, and about TAPS in general. I highly recommend TAPS and the many programs they offer for adults and children.