Monday, April 02, 2012

Honoring a Service Member’s Ultimate Sacrifice, Whether It Was Made on the Battlefield or Not

In a post on March 15 , Gary Farwell eloquently described how some families of our fallen military personnel are issued different types of gold star pins or not “allowed” to have gold star license tags by the states that issue them. At the heart of this issue is the memorialization of our fallen military. Gold star license tags are only the tip of the iceberg.

Far too often, we at the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), hear similar stories from military families who have suffered the loss of a loved one who died while serving in the armed forces and then are denied “gold star” status because their loved ones did not die in a combat zone or were not killed in action.

When you look seriously at the issue of memorializing our fallen military members, you find many inconsistencies that inflict emotional pain on survivors. They are people like the family of Lance Cpl. Darrell Schumann of the Marine Corps, who died in Iraq in 2005 while riding in a helicopter that crashed during a sandstorm. Lance Corporal Schumann’s father, a veteran himself, has spent years questioning why a citizen board in Virginia refuses to include his son’s name on a memorial wall at the State Capitol that honors the military dead. The reason cited by the board is that Lance Corporal Schumann “didn’t die by a hostile act,” even though he was deployed in a war zone.

Read the entire story here.

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