Memorial Day signifies a time to reflect and remember. A day to mourn, a day to honor, and a day to acknowledge the sacrifices of the military personnel who gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. Memorial Day came into being after the Civil War and was originally called “Decoration Day.” The main focus of the occasion centered on decorating the gravesites of fallen soldiers. For decades the holiday was observed on May 30. That changed in 1968 when Congress passed the Uniform Holiday Act which moved Memorial Day permanently to the last Monday in May, creating a three-day weekend for Federal employees. The weekend has come to represent the unofficial beginning of the summer season.
A Moment of Remembrance
In addition to flying your American flag at half staff or paying your respects at a national cemetery, where each soldier’s gravesite is decorated with an American flag, you can also honor our fallen military personnel is with a moment of remembrance. In 1996, congress enacted the National Moment of Remembrance to “honor the men and women of the United States who died in the pursuit of freedom and peace.” On Memorial Day, Americans are asked to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. local time. The Moment is intended to remind people—especially future generations—about the real meaning of the holiday. The time of 3 p.m. was chosen because typically this is when most Americans are likely making the most of the freedoms they enjoy. Whether you’re with a group or alone, you can take that time to focus on the rich history of service in our nation and the sacrifice we ask our Service members to make. You can think of friends and family who gave their lives protecting the ideals of freedom and peace. Take that moment and shape it in a way that will be most meaningful to you.
Whether you’re with a group or alone, you can take that time to focus on the rich history of service in our nation and the sacrifice we ask our Service members to make.
Tap into TAPS
If you are grieving the loss of a Service member, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) can provide you with support and resources. Its mission is to provide comfort and care to surviving family members who have lost a military loved one to combat, suicide, illness, training, accidents and other causes. The organization was founded in 1994 by Bonnie Carroll after experiencing the loss of her husband, Brigadier General Thomas C. Carroll, who perished along with seven other soldiers in the crash of an Army C-12 plane in Alaska.
TAPS has served over 100,000 survivors with programs for adults and youth, including retreats, expeditions, counseling and help with navigating benefits and resources.
The TAPS National Military Survivor Helpline, 800-959-TAPS (8277), has trained professionals available 24/7 to support those in emotional need. In TAPS’ own words: “Twenty-four hours a day, we are a family of military survivors ready to connect and embrace all who grieve the death of a military loved one with resources, services and programs.”
TriWest Healthcare Alliance has been a proud supporter of TAPS and its mission for 20 years and encourages anyone wishing to learn more about the organization to visit www.taps.org.