- Associated Press - Monday, May 25, 2015

GRINNELL, Iowa (AP) - A Grinnell family is spending the long weekend in Washington, D.C., at a national seminar and grief camp for those coping with the loss of a member of the armed forces.

Kaanan Mackey said the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, also known as TAPS, will help her five children, ages 6 to 16, cope with the death of her husband, Matthew. He died in 2010 from injuries following an accident on his way home from a drill weekend at Camp Dodge in Johnston. He served in the Marine Corps and Iowa Army National Guard.

“This is one of the only places they get to relate to everybody they’re around,” she said of the trip. “Everybody feels the same feelings they’ve had, and they can all relate to each other. This is one of those really exciting times for my kids because they feel normal.”

The Des Moines Register reported (https://dmreg.co/1Rh1saP ) the family on Memorial Day usually places flags on veterans’ graves at the Grinnell cemetery.

“They honor their dad every day, so on Memorial Day, I want to make sure that they know that there’s other people that have sacrificed, as well, and that was kind of my way to show them that,” she said.

Their trip to Washington this year means the family is breaking with tradition. Still, they will place stones on graves at Arlington National Cemetery in a section that honors military members who died serving in recent wars.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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