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Long Term Assistance Program 4th Quarter Newsletter 2024

Gold Star Children’s Day

Gold Star Children’s Day, observed annually on Aug. 1, recognizes and honors the children of fallen military service members. This observance serves as a touching reminder of bravery and sacrifice not only of the fallen service members but also their families. On Gold Star Children’s Day, we should reflect on the resilience and strength displayed by these young individuals. The Long Term Assistance Program (LTAP) will continue to forward along information on events across the United States that may be honoring surviving military children. If you have questions about an event in your area, reach out to LTAP at 866-210-3421, option 2.

Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day

Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day, observed the last Sunday in September, holds a significant place in the hearts of those who have lost a loved one in military service. This day honors and recognizes the sacrifices made by surviving families who have lost a family member in the line of duty.

During World War I, families displayed service flags with a blue star to represent loved ones serving in the military. If a service member died, the blue star was replaced with a gold one. This inspired the formation of Gold Star Mothers, an organization for mothers who lost children in service. In 1936, Gold Star Mother’s Day was recognized by Congress, and a day of observance was established to honor their sacrifice. Over time, the focus expanded to include all surviving families, leading to the creation of Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day.

As this day is observed nationwide, there will be several events around the country hosted by other branches of service, nonprofits, and local communities. LTAP will continue to forward these events out to our USMC surviving families, so that you may attend to honor your Marine. If you have questions regarding an event in your area, reach out to LTAP at 866-210-3421, option 2.

Young Adult Program*

Losing a loved one is never easy, especially for young adults who are navigating the complexities of life transitions. Grief can be isolating but there are programs specifically tailored to support young adults through these challenging times.

Grief programs for young adults provide a safe space for individuals to express themselves, share their experiences, and connect with peers who are facing similar challenges. Many children who participated in grief programs wonder “what’s next?” as adults. Below you will find a few non-profits that have answered this question each in their own way.

These programs empower individuals to navigate their grief with resilience and hope. Moreover, the sense of belonging and camaraderie fostered within these communities helps young adults feel less alone in their grief.

Image of Marines folding flag.

Image of Marines folding flag.

Snowball Express*

The Gary Sinise Foundation gathers families from across the country every December for a magical trip filled with fun activities, bonding opportunities, and heartfelt moments of remembrance. From special events and entertainment to opportunities to connect with others who have experienced similar losses, Snowball Express is a testament to the power of love, remembrance, and solidarity.  

Navigating Grief Through the Great Outdoors*

When overwhelmed by emotions too complex for words, the outdoors provide a canvas for expression. Whether it is a solitary hike through the woods or a quiet moment by the river, nature offers space for reflection and release. The outdoors provide respite from the noise and expectations of everyday life. You may be able to find space to confront emotions without judgment or haste.

Additionally, the physical act of being outdoors can be inherently healing. Engaging in activities such as hiking, gardening, or simply basking in the warmth of the sun releases endorphins and reduces stress. Movement can be a metaphor for progress; each step forward is a testament to resilience and renewal.

The National Park Service thanks military personnel, their families, and veterans by allowing them to enjoy their parks for free. The link allows you to obtain a pass from the online USGS store for a $10 processing fee. To obtain yours in person for free, find the closest site to you.

In navigating grief through the great outdoors, we come to understand that healing is not a destination but a journey. In nature’s embrace we may find comfort, courage, and ultimately, hope.

Image of Marines folding flag.

Base Access

Military installations around the world serve as vital hubs for national defense and security. Access to these facilities is strictly controlled to safeguard sensitive information, equipment, and personnel. Understanding the requirements for accessing military installations is essential for civilians, contractors, and authorized personnel.

Here are a few things to remember before planning your visit to a military installation if you are not already a DoD ID card holder:

  • According to MARADMIN 108/23: “All persons requesting access to a Marine Corps site must provide an acceptable source identity document as outlined in references (b) and (c) for access control identity proofing purposes. Persons not in possession of a state issued (including DC and United States territories and possessions) REAL-ID compliant driver’s license or identification card are required to provide an approved alternate source identity document. Examples of approved source identity documents, in the absence of a REAL-ID compliant driver’s license or identification card are: Original or certified true copy of a birth certificate bearing a raised seal; a social security card, and a driver’s license or identification card issued by a State, territory, possession, or the District of Columbia that is not REAL ID-compliant. All three documents must bear the same name, or a former name as documented on acceptable name change documentation such as a court order, marriage certificate, or divorce decree.”
  • It is strongly recommended that you connect with the installations base Pass/ID office and/or Visitor Center to confirm what the installations specific policy is before your scheduled visit. Feel free to search for these offices by visiting the Military OneSource Military Installation search system (

Military installation access requirements are designed to maintain the security and integrity of these critical facilities. Surviving families who do not possess a DoD issued ID card, typically can obtain access to the installation for memorial services and/or visiting a unit memorial for their loved one.  By understanding and adhering to these requirements, individuals can contribute to the safety and effectiveness of military operations while respecting the responsibilities and privileges associated with access to these installations.

*The entities presented in this publication are for information only; any participation is solely the responsibility of the individual. Neither the Marine Corps nor any other part of the federal government officially endorses or warrants, either expressly or implied, any of these entities. 

Contact Us:

Long Term Assistance Program and USMC Gold Star and Surviving Family Member Representative
Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps
Marine and Family Programs Division (MF)
Casualty Section (MFPC)
1-866-210-3421, option 2

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