WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 30, 2008) -- As a prelude to Memorial Day, the May issue of Soldiers Magazine, themed "The Final Salute," focuses on the many pieces involved in the casualty-assistance process.

In the lead article, Carrie McLeroy outline the solemn steps involved in the casualty-assistance process, including Family notification, memorial services and helping Families apply for benefits.

Renita Foster writes about casualty notification duty. The job of telling parents their son or daughter has died in battle requires Soldiers to have great bearing and personal strength. At a time when families need compassion, straight answers and strength more than ever, the difficult duty of casualty notification is the last thing one Soldier can do for another. Foster's piece provides a window into the thoughts and emotions of an Army officer as he helps families come to terms with the loss of their children.

Staff Sgt. Dave Hopkins relates the legacy of a Soldier who left $20,000 of his life insurance to his unit's rear detachment to provide flowers at memorial services and help families. The final gift of Staff Sgt. Michael Gabel is also turning into a fund to help wounded warriors of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.

Some parents who have lost their sons in the line of duty continue their child's service to the nation by serving others. Elizabeth Lorge tells the story of parents who lost their own sons, but continue to serve by comforting other grieving families.

Todd Lopez spotlights the Arlington Ladies, who attend the burials of every Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. These ladies stand silent vigils at graveside services to honor Soldiers and let families know their sacrifices will never be forgotten.

Other articles in the May issue focus on the Shadow unmanned aircraft, the Army arts and crafts contest, earning a degree in the combat zone, the Distributed Learning System and, finally, a feature about an EOD bomb-sniffing dog.

Read these stories and more in the latest edition of Soldiers Magazine, available the first week of May.