By Diana Hosford,
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
About a month ago, I received surprising but exciting news – at the request of a U.K.-based charity called The Diana Award, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) would be invited to the Royal Wedding, and I would attend to represent our national organization that provides compassionate care to the families of America’s fallen military heroes.
The Diana Award encourages and empowers young people to create change in their communities as a living legacy to the Princess of Wales.
I had first met Diana Award CEO Tessy Ojo at a TAPS event earlier this year. We began to speak about how these children in the U.K. are a living legacy to the princess just as surviving military children in the U.S. are the living legacy of the service and sacrifice of their fallen loved one. We decided that a program to mentor bereaved British children in the way similar to how we mentor bereaved American children would be a wonderful way to start off our partnership.
In the coming months, we will establish a team of military mentors drawn from all three services in the U.K. Fortunately, there is already a British Army officer who has been volunteering with TAPS since 2013; he will help us recruit, grow and train our team.
We will also be working with another partner organization called Scotty’s Little Soldiers, an English organization that provides opportunities for surviving military children. Our heroes have long worked side-by-side on the battlefield as part of a coalition, so it makes good sense for our families to come together on the home front to support one another as well.
A few weeks after receiving Tessy’s invitation to attend the Royal Wedding festivities with The Diana Award, one of Prince Harry’s charities, I arrived in England.
I felt a tremendous responsibility to honor our fallen heroes and their surviving families, so I wore a dragonfly on my hat – a symbol of a loved one who has passed who is watching over us. It was a lovely way to recognize these families and their fallen heroes and to acknowledge the late Princess Diana as she watched over her son on his most special day.
The occasion was a celebration of the love and unity of these two people coming together, their families coming together, and our countries coming together.
How fitting that at the same time, TAPS and The Diana Award are also coming together to do wonderful things for military children on both sides of the pond.
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