When ‘Happy Memorial Day’ is painful for some families

BY Hari Sreenivasan and Vicky Pasquantonio  May 25, 2014 at 2:54 PM EST

Memorial Day can be an emotional day for those who have lost a loved one serving in the military. In turn, common remarks like “Happy Memorial Day” can be painful for some families to hear.

That’s according to Ami Neiberger-Miller (@AmazingPRMaven) of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, or TAPS, who joined me for a Google + Hangout on Sunday.

Neiberger-Miller said that rather than simply wishing a family member “Happy Memorial Day,” she recommends telling the person in question you are thinking of them.

She also advises asking about what the military service member’s life was like when he or she was alive.

Neiberger Miller’s brother, U.S. Army Specialist Christopher Neiberger, was killed in Iraq in 2007.

Since 1994, TAPS has helped some 50,000 families cope with the loss of a loved one through survivor seminars and peer-based support groups as well as access to grief and trauma resources.

More than 2,400 participants will take part in TAPS-sponsored events over Memorial Day Weekend, including First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, who will sit with the children of TAPS’ Good Grief Camp during President Obama’s remarks at Arlington Cemetery on Monday.

TAPS can be found on Twitter at @TAPS4America and the hashtag for this weekend’s events is #TAPS14.