Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., offered words of support and gratitude today to opening ceremony attendees of the 30th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp in Arlington, Virginia.      

“As we gather for this Memorial Day weekend, we are reminded of the ultimate cost some of us must pay when serving our country in uniform. Their service and sacrifice [are] forever etched into the story of our nation,” Brown told the gathering of approximately 2,200 in attendance. 

“You are their living legacies, and our country owes you a debt of gratitude for their service.” 

Taking place May 23-27 and sponsored by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, the annual Memorial Day weekend seminar and camp connects survivors through activities; workshops led by experts in grief and loss; and small group sharing sessions. 

Additionally, the Good Grief Camp portion of the weekend is a program for the children who have lost a loved one who served in the armed services. It offers a safe space to explore grief and embrace healing, according to the TAPS website. 

“Throughout this weekend, you will find compassionate support, the warmth of shared stories, and a wealth of helpful resources,” Brown told the crowd. 

“Every day is filled with opportunities to celebrate your loved one’s life and service; gain wisdom from insightful presenters and special guests; and access the full array of TAPS services and support crafted to meet your needs.” 

In addition to speaking about what the seminar has to offer those in attendance, Brown expressed how proud he is to lead an all-volunteer force. 

“Each and every service member who raised their right hand and took the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States [has] exhibited the spirit of selfless service,” Brown said. 

“This spirit is what defines our military and our nation; it is what drives us to serve and to sacrifice for something greater than ourselves; and it is what drives us to come together in community to honor those who gave their lives in service to our country.” 

As Brown began to wind down his remarks, he told the audience that, since having returned to Washington in 2020, he tries each Memorial Day weekend to go for a run around Arlington National Cemetery and the various war memorials on the National Mall. 

“It gives me a chance to reflect and think about those I’ve served with, that we’ve lost,” Brown said. 

“Just know that every time we lose a service member, it tears at a family; and it tears at me.” 

Brown concluded his remarks by thanking TAPS for bringing so many people together in support of friends and families of the fallen. 

“Thank you for you unwavering spirit [and] for being here to remember your loved one,” Brown told the audience.  

“But also, more importantly,” he continued, “[for] how you support each other, and how you make us stronger as a nation because of your unwavering spirit. We are forever in your debt.” 

Founded in 1994, TAPS is a national nonprofit organization that works to provide comprehensive resources and compassionate care for those who are grieving the passing of current and former members of the military.

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