Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
Quarterly Memorial Service
Each day, Truman VA employees are honored to serve our Veterans. In the health care field, we know our patients will not be with us forever. More than ten years ago Truman VA began an initiative to pay tribute to Veterans who had recently died. We are proud to continue the tradition and host a Quarterly Memorial Service.
The idea to host this memorial service came from a former employee, Laura DeVenney. Truman VA held the first Quarterly Memorial Service on October 15, 1999. Laura’s idea turned into a regular event and remains a long standing tradition. This Friday, we will hold our 49th Quarterly Memorial Service.
The purpose of the Memorial Service is to help families and friends of deceased Veterans deal with their grief. Staff members are also invited to attend the service. Together we remember and honor those Veterans who are no longer with us.
The service is held in Truman VA’s Chapel, which is located on the third floor. Prior to each service, invitation letters are sent to family members of all recently deceased Veterans who received care from Truman VA. On average, 150 invitations are mailed and about 100 people attend each service. During the 35 minute service, there is special music, meditation and reading of the names of the deceased Veterans. Attendees are invited to a coffee hour following the service.
Dr. Alan Helland has served the VA Chaplaincy at Truman VA for forty years. Dr. Helland conducts the service and quotes the words of Shakespeare, “Give sorrow words.” He says that for many deceased Veterans, the family has a funeral at home. However, the funeral is sometimes held months prior to the VA Memorial Service. Many family members find that this service brings a new sense of closure. Truman VA is proud to carry on this tradition.