Lexington VA’s Last Roll Call a tribute to veterans, solace for their survivors

Originally published by WEKU.

Twice a year, before Memorial Day and Veterans Day, Lexington’s V-A Health Care holds a ceremony to honor veterans treated there who’ve passed away in the previous six months. They’re called “Last Roll Calls,” and Sunday, 110 people gathered at the Sousley Campus on Leestown Road to celebrate the lives of their loved ones. Chaplain Keith Taylor said they came from all over the country.

“They’re at different places in their experience of grief and loss. Some of them are just glad to have their veteran honored. Some of them are very still acutely grieving and having issues with the loss.”

Taylor said the “Last Roll Call” ceremonies includes a video with actor and military supporter Gary Sinise explaining the ceremony, which includes the playing of each of the services’ songs. Taylor’s been a part of Last Roll Calls for a decade and said they’re designed to honor veterans who passed – and help their survivors.

“Our main focus of the service is to help them to understand where they are with their grief, that it is transitional is dynamic, it does change, it does move, it does not stay the same.”

Taylor said the VA sends survivors letters and other materials the first six months after their loved one’s death, then contacts them after about a year to see how they’re doing.

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Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.