Afghanistan veteran with medals and child
1 October 2013

Bereaved military families from UK and US gather at SSAFA event in Glasgow

Families got together last weekend to share their experiences of bereavement through conflict and military service.

Bereaved military families from UK and US gather at SSAFA event in Glasgow

Military families from the UK and the US have gathered in Glasgow this weekend to share the pain of bereavement through conflict and military service.

An act of remembrance took place at the war memorial in Victoria Park, Glasgow on the afternoon of Saturday 28 September where a short service was held followed by the laying of flowers. Over 200 bereaved families were represented.

The event to remember loved ones and provided mutual support was organised by SSAFA's Bereaved Families Support Group, a network of partners, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children of the fallen. Among those present were also families from the US charity TAPS, who support American families undergoing similar tragedy.

The UK families meet twice a year at locations around the UK. This is the first time that US families have been invited to take part in the event with twelve US families represented and over 200 from the UK.

Chairman of the Bereaved Families Support Group Sandy Elliot from Aberdeen commented, “Thankfully we are seeing fewer casualties from military operations such as Afghanistan, however it is important that we don’t forget those who died and the long term effects of bereavement on family and friends. These support group meetings are vital as only those who have been through the terrible experience of losing a loved one can understand the long-term effects of such a loss.”

“We are delighted that some US families who lost loved ones in similar circumstances were able to join us.”

Bonnie Carroll, President and Founder of TAPS commented, “We are all going through the same loss together as bereaved families, many of our loved ones even served alongside each other. Families on both sides of the Atlantic know that the only person who can truly understand and comfort a grieving mother or father is another grieving mother or father.

“This has been a wonderful opportunity to meet together, to share ideas and to share our thoughts, love and loss.”

SSAFA's Bereaved Families Support Group are a non political, non campaigning group who provide mutual support to the families of those bereaved through military service. It 300 members meets regularly around the UK offering mutual support and advice. Trained social workers and other professionals offering on going help to families. A similar group is operated for the Families of Injured Service Personnel.

Founded out of tragedy in 1994, TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Programme for Survivors) has established itself as the front line resource to the families and loved ones of our military men and women. TAPS provides comfort and care through comprehensive services and programs including peer based emotional support, case work assistance, connections to community-based care, and grief and trauma resources. TAPS has assisted over 40,000 surviving families.