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Memorial & Family Planning Documents

Class of 1961
Memorial Article Project

Remember when we were on active duty and received orders for our first overseas assignment? One of the items on the deployment checklist was whether or not we had a current and complete WILL. We were reminded to stop by the JAG and get one done immediately.

Remember that first tour to Vietnam or other place of hostile action? Again, we were reminded to get our paper work in order.

When we served in combat, we faced death daily. We knew that at any moment we might die. So, before we left our family we took steps to see that our paper work was in order and that if anything happened, our family would know where the paper work was and that we had taken care of them.

Well, now we are retired, no more overseas deployments, no more combat tours and no more JAG. But, we are embarking on our most dangerous mission yet, growing old. Just because there is not an enemy across the field, it does not mean that we don’t have to face the reality that today could be the last day of our life. We, of all people, should be able to face that reality, yet many of us put off the planning that is essential for our family’s peace of mind after we die.

The documents available here only address a small part of the planning, a remembrance of a wonderful person, you. We are not asking you to write your own memorial article or obituary, although that would be fine if you want to do that. What we are asking is that you let your loved ones know what was important to you in your life and where they can find out more about it. By doing this you will be helping them through those tough first, frantic days after your death. Our hope is that each of you will do this as a first step toward assuring your family an easier process at the time of your death. And, if the other parts of that final plan are not done, that this will be the catalyst to get them done also.

The first document is a Personal Information Document.  The Personal Information Sheet is designed to help you see that the information your family will need is available when they need it. Again, we used to do this when we left our family behind when we went to war or to an unaccompanied tour. This is preparing for that final unaccompanied tour.

Because we were in the military we have some documents that others do not have, such as Certificates of Birth for a U. S. Citizen Born Abroad, or some similar document for some of our children. We probably have shot records and have needed them for foreign travel after retirement. We are fortunate, if we took advantage of the opportunity to get our initial life insurance from what was then Army Mutual Aid, to have a central depository for many of our documents, Army and Air Force Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA). Depending upon whether we stayed in until retirement or resigned, our health insurance may be different. We may be eligible to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Did you realize that you, your spouse and all of your children and possibly grandchildren have a USAA number? Check it out with them.

The Personal Information Sheet is similar to what I have used for years to keep my wife and our children knowledgeable of where our paper records are and whom they should contact for assistance. About twice a year we go over it, update it and send a copy to all five children. Particularly with a second marriage, it is important to keep all the children informed. The names have been removed, but some companies or organizations are mentioned. At the end in the Self and Spouse paragraphs are a number of organizations and phone numbers that might be useful to you and your family.

The second document is the Memorial Article Questionnaire and it is for you to fill out and place in a safe place where it can be found when it is needed.  It is divided into eight parts.

   The first part asks you to identify someone; a spouse, a friend, a classmate, a child; to write, edit or coordinate the writing of a memorial article about you for the Assembly. This is the person to whom we will turn for information and provide assistance to in getting the memorial article written and submitted to the Association of Graduates. It will also assist in getting the information to our Last Roll Call on the Class web pages. The article for the Assembly is the primary mission here, but as a class we also want to provide a tribute in the Last Roll Call. We have far more flexibility on what is written and shown in the Last Roll Call then the AOG has with the Assembly article.

   The second part asks for information about you and your next of kin. This is usually your spouse or child. If not, whom should we contact immediately after death for information on funeral plans. This part also asks about funeral plans and if they have been made, the identification of the facility selected. We, the Class Tribute guys, can contact this facility for such things as time schedules, obituary, etc. and not be bothering your family about these details. We can also determine the newspaper(s) in which the obituary will appear and inform your classmates. Later, an important role for your next of kin is to grant or deny permission to the AOG to publish the memorial article and/or for the class to place information on the class web site.

   The next four parts ask for information about different times in your life, before West Point, at West Point, in the military after West Point and after you left the military. Please try to include interesting incidents in these incidents in your life, not just dates and places. Do not feel that you need to fill everything in. What did you do that was important to you and that you want us to remember?

   The final two parts ask about your family and friends that might have information to add that will tell us about the person you were, but that maybe we did not know.

   If at any time more space is required to complete a section of this questionnaire, please add one or more continuation sheets numbered consecutively C1, C2, etc.  If a continuation sheet is needed, enter “see continuation sheet, page ___ (e.g., C1), entry # ___ (e.g., 1)” at the appropriate location in this questionnaire.

Suggestions and comments can be sent to Gabe at or the address at the end of the questionnaire.

The documents are available in two formats (a WORD document, which can be filled in on-line, or an Adobe Reader which must be printed to be used). 

Click here for WORD version of Personal Information Document

Click here for WORD version of Memorial Article Questionnaire


Click here for Adobe Reader version of Personal Information Document

Click here for Adobe Reader version of Memorial Article Questionnaire

Click here to download the Adobe Reader if you do not already have it on your PC.













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