AS IRAQ WAR ENDS AND TROOPS LEAVE: TAPS GEARS UP SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES OF THE FALLEN
More Than 44,000 People in U.S. Impacted by U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq TAPS Reminds America that Grieving Families Need Support For Years
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 13, 2011
WASHINGTON – The war in Iraq is nearing a close, with the withdrawal of nearly all U.S. troops by the end of 2011, but for the more than 44,000 family members left behind by our fallen military service members who died in Iraq, the journey through grief will continue for years.
Because the emotional images of troop homecomings and final border crossings in the coming days may stir raw emotions for survivors, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is standing up additional support services for families of the fallen. The TAPS Call Center at 800.959.TAPS (8277) is available 24/7 to offer comfort and care for survivors of our fallen military. Additional support staff will be on call to handle what TAPS expects to be an increased number of calls due to the troop pullout.
“The troop pullout coincides with the holidays, which are typically a challenging time of year for military survivors who are grieving,” said Bonnie Carroll, TAPS founder and president. “Every year we receive calls on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day from families who are struggling with their grief. We expect even more this year because of the troop pullout. We will continue to expand support services through TAPS in 2012 to provide support for bereaved military families.”
Families say it is the finality of it, that stirs emotions. “The homecoming images are bittersweet for us. The troop pullout is a very visible and emotional reminder to families of our fallen military that their loved ones have died and are not coming home,” said Ami Neiberger-Miller, TAPS public affairs officer and surviving sister of U.S. Army Specialist Christopher Neiberger, who was killed in action in Baghdad, Iraq at age 22 in August 2007.
Approximately 4,487 U.S. service members have given their lives in Iraq, with 4,421 deaths occurring under Operation Iraqi Freedom (03/19/2003-08/31/2010) and 66 deaths under Operation New Dawn (09/01/10-present).
Number of People in the U.S. Impacted by Military Deaths in Iraq
TAPS reminds the public and the media to treat surviving families of our fallen military with compassion and sensitivity. Please be understanding if families get emotional, request privacy or need space.
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