A child carries roses through Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 25, 2015. (U.S. Army/Rachel Larue)

For some, tax season brings a small boon in the form of a refund. For others it can be a source of stress.

But Theresa Jones sees it as an annual reminder of her husband, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Landon Jones, who was killed in a helicopter crash on Sept. 22, 2013.

Since then, Jones and her two sons, ages 5 and 11, have received monthly compensation in the form of survivor benefits — one allotment through the Department of Defense is taxable, and another through the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is not taxed.

For the past several years she's had to pay roughly $1,150 in taxes on her sons' benefits. This year, it was $5,400.

"My kids are owing the government back money, that the government gave them, because their dad died, and my kids have to pay it back," Jones told Task & Purpose. "And every year this comes around and it's just this reminder of this tragedy, and it's literally like throwing salt in the wound."

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Photo courtesy of the Gary Sinise Foundation

It’s been 24 years since Forrest Gump met Lt. Dan and got the same sage advice that so many fresh troops before and after have received from on high: “Change your socks.” In the years that followed his iconic role, Gary Sinise has become a well-known figure in the military and veteran communities, thanks to his advocacy on behalf of service members and their families.

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Nine years ago, Army widow Pauline Taylor moved to Pennsylvania to start a new life. Her husband, Army veteran Carlos Taylor, had died from an illness in 2001, and the house they shared in Baltimore, Maryland was filled with the memories of the life they had shared together. Taylor needed a fresh start, and after two years of painstaking research, she chose a house in Glen Rock for its peace and quiet.

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For nearly two years, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joshua Corney has stepped out of his front door and into his yard in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, at 7:55 p.m. every night, where he stands at attention for the world’s most famous bugle song — Taps.

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After 16 years of war, the young children who lost a parent to combat in Iraq or Afghanistan are starting come of age and deal with new challenges, but one obstacle that Gold Star dependents should not have to face is the struggle to pay for education.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Melissa Karnath

In the wake of the July 17 shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that left three officers dead and three wounded, a Marine veteran took a moment to honor the fallen officers in a familiar way: by playing Taps.

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