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An Arlington Group That Helps the Families of Fallen Heroes Will March in the Inaugural Parade

Volunteers help to make fans with fallen heroes photos to use in Friday's inaugural parade. All photographs by Evy Mages.

From the Tupelo High School Band to the Girl Scouts of America, 40 organizations will be participating in Friday’s inaugural parade. While many of the groups will be coming from outside the region, TAPS, which stands for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, is based in Arlington. The group works to nurture the families of those who’ve lost their lives protecting the United States in the military.

Drew Buehring lost his father, Lieutenant Colonel Chad Buehring, in 2003 in Baghdad. The Charleston, South Carolina, native first learned of TAPS when he was 15 and attended one of its Good Grief Camps. There he met other kids his age going through similar experiences of losing a parent or sibling who served. “It really taught me how to express my lost and how to really talk about it,” he says.

For the last two years, Buehring been a mentor for to 9-year-olds–the age he was when he lost his father.

Drew Buehring with a photo of his father, Lieutenant Colonel Chad Buehring.

At Friday’s parade, each of the participants will carry fans with the names and pictures of the family members they have lost.

Bonnie Carroll founded TAPS in 1994 after losing her husband in an Army plane crash two years earlier. “We have Memorial Day in this country,” she says. We have memorials that honor those who have served and died, but what America will witness on Friday in the inaugural parade is that living legacy. That living memorial to service and sacrifice.”

Volunteers laminate photos before super gluing them to fans to be held in the parade.
Volunteers laminate photos before gluing them to fans to be held in the parade.
Seven volunteers assisted with the creation of the fans being used in the parade. Two out of the seven helped to cut out photos like the one pictured here.
Seven volunteers assisted with the creation of the fans being used in the parade.
Kelly Griffith, Media Relations Manager of TAPS who lost her brother Major Samuel Griffith in 2011. Samuel was serving in Afghanistan.
Kelly Griffith lost her brother Major Samuel Griffith in 2011, when he was serving in Afghanistan.

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