A Weekend With America's Finest....Being Their Finest! This was my second year to attend and present at TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar held during the Memorial Day Weekend in our nation's capital. Each year for the past 22 years, TAPS families have come together for a time of connection, reflection, and inspiration. It is a safe place-a place to share stories, personal thoughts, and memories that are only found among those who know this journey. All during this beautiful TAPS National Seminar one can hear laughter, observe learning, and truly come to know heartfelt stories of those who dedicated their lives to serving our nation and protecting our freedom. TAPS families and friends comfort and lift one another. Lasting bonds are created and strength is given. The weekend was filled with workshops, sharing groups, and activities. Our time together included ceremonies to honor the lives of ourloved ones, remember our heroes, and carry their example forward. The Good Grief Camp is a camp designed especially for the children of our fallen soldiers. All during the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar the children who have accompanied their families for this special weekend of healing, have their very own agenda...stock full of fun, learning, and growth. All through the weekend, I observed children being taken care of by their TAPS mentors and volunteers-these wonderful children were happy and safe. Saturday evening was the TAPS Grand Banquet. This year's gala theme was to be, "Putt'in On The Ritz." All attendees were invited to "dress up" and be glamorous! Following the afternoon workshop that I facilitated, my plans were to make a wardrobe change and join in the festivities for an evening of walking on the "Red Carpet." This changed for many of us, and wardrobes were no longer the consideration of the evening. The TAPS Staff Members, Presenters, Volunteers, and Attendees chose to stay in their TAPS t-shirts and casual attire. All during the afternoon hours I witnessed "America's Finest" being "America's Finest." TAPS lost one of their very own on Saturday morning, 28th of May. A longtime supporter of TAPS, the father of a Fallen Hero, and father of a TAPS Staff Member died suddenly during a workshop presentation. This staunch advocate for TAPS was attending the National Seminar along with his wife and their grandchildren. The Grand Banquet remained a "Grand Banquet." It was beautiful. There were tributes to this wonderful longtime advocate for TAPS that died earlier that day-both happy and sad. There were prayers and devotions beautifully presented by guest speakers. The distinguished military guests delivered powerful messages. General Paul J. Selva, USAF, honored the families of our fallen heroes and recognized their courage and willingness to carry on. General Mark E. Milley, USA, spoke of the many sacrifices our men and women in uniform have given for freedom's sake. Bonnie Carroll, Founder and President of TAPS, was present for each and every person in the Grand Banquet Dining Room. Bonnie's love for her TAPS Family resonated throughout the entire Saturday evening of events, and she provided support and inspiration for those of us that know the journey.
"America's Finest" truly was "America's Finest" on Saturday evening, 28 May. This TAPS Family of illustrious military leaders, staff members, volunteers, and survivors rose up and "Remembered the Love, Celebrated the Life, and Shared the Journey." Most grateful, Glenna.