WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - We know about the supporters and protesters planning to be at this year’s Inaugural Parade. New this year, there’s another group making an important appearance: the service men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our country.
At this year’s parade, family members will be carrying handmade signs with the photos of their fallen heroes on them.
This is a first time for the Arlington non-profit called, T.A.P.S., which stands for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, will be participating in the parade.
“Awe,” was the first reaction from Bonnie Carroll after seeing her husband’s face on the top of a large stack of photos.
“That’s great, so there’s Tom,” Carroll said showing us the photo of her late husband, Brigadier General Tom Carroll, who lost his life in a C-12 plane crash on November 12, 1992.
T.A.P.S. founder, Bonnie Carroll, will be carrying her husband’s photo as she marches in the 2017 Inaugural Parade.
“This is a very formal ceremony, so we will be doing our best to march in our columns and in our place and just bringing honor and reverence to this day and the transfer of power that is taking place in our country,” she said.
It’s a right and freedom these military members gave their lives to protect.
Being a non-profit that supports military survivor families, T.A.P.S. participates in all kinds of events. Still Carroll says this is the first time they even applied for a permit to be in the Inaugural Parade.
About 200 military survivor families from across the country are now expected to participate.
“At T.A.P.S. we say we remember the love, celebrate the life and share the journey,” Carroll said.
It’s a journey down Pennsylvania Avenue Carroll also said is not political. The non-profit founder said she’s a Veteran who has actually worked with three different White Houses.
Marching in the parade, Carroll told WUSA9, is for her husband and the many faces seen in the photos, who are the relatives of colleagues and friends.
“To carry his picture with me on inaugural day and to bring him present into this historic moment means the world to me, Carroll said.
T.A.P.S. organizers say about 15 families participating are from the DMV. The rest are coming from as far away as Texas and California. WUSA9 is also told high ranking military members have opened their doors and will be housing some of these families during their time here.
If you're not familiar with T.A.P.S., President Obama honored Carroll with the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for her work. Carroll said they're now working with President-elect's Trump Transition team on how to best help surviving families.
To learn more about the organization, click here.
(© 2017 WUSA)