Memorial & Family Planning
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Suggestions and comments can be sent to Gabe at
email@example.com or the address at the end of the questionnaire.
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
Click here for Adobe Reader version of
Personal Information Document
Click here for Adobe Reader version of Memorial Article
Click here to download the Adobe Reader if you do not already have it on your PC.