[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/13/art.sesame.jpg caption ="Sesame Street characters arrived at the Pentagon Tuesday to help debut a military-themed episode of its series called ‘When Families Grieve.’"] Washington (CNN) - The Department of Defense has teamed up with a famous furry red monster to tackle tough subjects with children.
Elmo and a slew of other Sesame Street characters arrived at the Pentagon Tuesday to help debut a military-themed episode of its series called "When Families Grieve."
The newly released installment deals with the difficult challenge of confronting death and loss. In the DVD, Elmo's cousin, Jesse, has lost his father in combat.
The story is geared toward providing support for military children and their families. Over 12,000 military children have lost a parent since the start of the wars eight and half years ago.
Gary Knell, president and CEO of Sesame Workshop, said he hoped the "power of our characters paired with resources" offered the right words of encouragement to families dealing with loss.
Sesame Workshop plans to distribute 800,000 resource kits to military families with the help of the Defense Department. The episode will also air on PBS.
Admiral Michael Mullen, who spoke at the event, said that "When Families Grieve" will provide children who have lost parents with "hope and reassurance that they are not alone in life's most difficult test."
"It's a very human experience," Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn said. "But nothing is more important than supporting our families."