Daily Video

May 27, 2019

Why ‘Happy Memorial Day’ is painful for some families



Directions: Read the summary, watch the videos and answer the discussion questions below. You may want to read more of the story here.


Summary: NewsHour’s Hari Sreenivasan spoke with with Ami Neiberger-Miller formely of The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) a few years ago. They discussed how Memorial Day can be difficult for the family members of the fallen and what to say to friends and family — and those who have lost loved ones — on this holiday. Neiberger-Miller’s brother Chris died almost 12 years ago in Iraq at the age of 22. Memorial Day is a day America remembers how service members died but also, according to Neiberger-Miller in a recent tweet, “how he lived – a life in service to others, a joker, a lover of history and coffee, beer and more.”


To learn more about family members who have lost a family member while in military service, you may consider watching the documentary “Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery” (named after the fourteen-acres in Arlington where many of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan have been laid to rest) in which Neiberger-Miller and other families’ stories are featured.


Discussion questions:


1) Essential question: What is the main purpose of Memorial Day?


2) What is TAPS? Why do you think TAPS could be helpful around Memorial Day?


3) Why is it painful for some families to hear words like “Happy Memorial Day”? What are some words you could say instead to your friends or family? What about families who have lost a loved one?


4) Why are we prone to say things like “Happy Memorial Day” when the holiday is meant to be a more solemn day in honor of those service members who have been killed?


5) Memorial Day is dedicated to those service members who have been killed in service to country. Veterans Day is held in honor of those men and women who have served in the United States military. What are the origins of both holidays? How could you find out, if you’re not sure?


6) Media literacy: What issues around Memorial Day should news organizations be mindful about when they are covering the holiday?


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