Thread: RIP Guy Taylor Sr.
#1 RIP Guy Taylor Sr.03-04-2017, 11:01 AM
He passed last Feb but the honor is today.
Video & Link to the following at the bottom but it may not work behind the paywall.
GALVESTON — Every sunset for five years, U.S. Marine veteran Guy Taylor Sr. stood on his balcony overlooking a downtown Galveston intersection, put a bugle to his lips and played taps to honor friends who died in a struggle for an obscure hill in the Taebaek Mountains in what is now South Korea.
Constable Clint Brown happened to be there one day early on to hear the decorated Korean War vet’s performance.
“Nobody was paying attention,” Brown said. “People were just walking by, they wouldn’t put their hands over their heart or bow their head.”
The petty officer in the Naval Reserve decided to change that. He began blocking the intersection with his patrol car, red and blue emergency lights flashing.
Every sunset he waited for Taylor to say he was ready and then notify Paco Vargas, who would ask patrons at his nearby Rudy and Paco Restaurant to file onto the sidewalk to pay their respects. “I emptied out my whole restaurant and everybody enjoyed it, some people cried,” Vargas said.
Brown and others stood at attention, arms raised in a military salute as the solemn notes from Taylor’s bugle pierced the thrum of city life.
As word spread, tourists would arrive to listen with the crowd sometimes reaching 50 or 60. In 2015, the City Council proclaimed July 23 as Guy Taylor Day in honor of his daily tribute.
Taylor played his last note of taps from his balcony on Nov. 13, when cancer left him too weak to continue. Taylor, 84, died Feb. 7, but Brown has decided to carry on the daily tribute himself, starting at a Saturday event honoring Taylor that will include a parade and 6 p.m. ceremony at the intersection of 21st and Post Office, underneath the balcony where the former Marine once performed. Money is also being raised for a plaque at the site honoring Taylor.
“For just a brief moment every day at sunset he brought a brief moment of serenity,” City Manager Brian Maxwell said. “It was one of those things that made Galveston such a great place.”
‘Creating a moment’
Maureen Patton, executive director of the 1894 Grand Opera House, works near the corner where Taylor played. She would stop whatever she was doing every day to listen and watch Brown standing with his hand raised in salute. “They ended up creating a moment every evening, a special moment for Galveston and I think it touched hundreds and hundreds of lives,” Patton said.
Both are thrilled that Brown intends to continue the tradition.
Brown, who served 21 years in the Naval Reserve, including a year of active duty during the war in Afghanistan, was Galveston County Precinct 1 Constable when he began blocking traffic for Taylor’s taps. He continued blocking the intersection after he become a deputy constable for Harris County Precinct 2.
The 61-year-old said the idea of continuing Taylor’s daily ritual came from Taylor.
“He had made comments to me a couple of times that he hoped somebody would pick it up and continue with it,” Brown said. “I just decided I wanted to continue no matter what.”
Taylor joined the Marine Corps after graduating from Manor High School near Austin, where he played quarterback on the football team. He signed up with five friends, nearly the entire male contingent of his graduating class.
After boot camp, he was assigned in May 1951 to Able Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment in Korea.
The 7th Marines engaged in heavy combat against North Koreans and Chinese in May 1951. While in reserve, the 7th trained for the assault on Hill 673 in what became known as the battle of the Punchbowl, where Taylor would win a commendation. Accounts of his time in Korea are pieced together from writings by squadmate Jack Walker of Corpus Christi, who died in 2002; interviews with Taylor’s wife, Joan, 77; and interviews with retired Marine Capt. Leonard “Shifty” Shifflette, now 87, of Virginia Beach, Va., who was a squad leader in the same company as Taylor.
At the end of August the regiment slogged through mud and monsoon rain to the front line. The Marines dug in on a ridge facing Hill 673, about a mile across the valley known as the Punchbowl. Elements of the crack North Korean Peoples Army 45th Division defended the hill, fortified by a strong system of bunkers and deep trenches. The approaches were sown with mines.
‘All hell broke loose’
Taylor’s squad — 13 infantrymen and Navy corpsman Robert Wagner— was chosen to probe Hill 673 on Sept. 7. U.S. commanders believed the North Koreans had abandoned the bunkers because of intense bombing and shelling.
Shifflette watched Taylor’s squad make its way down a series of rice paddy terraces to the Punchbowl. As they drew close to the fortifications, the supposedly empty bunkers belched machine-gun fire.
“All hell broke lose,” Walker wrote.
Two Marines were killed and several wounded. Wagner, the Navy corpsman, won the Navy Cross for tending to the wounded under fire. Taylor and several Marines were separated from the squad. They hid from enemy patrols hunting for them for two days before returning to their lines.
Taylor returned to Hill 673 when all three companies of the 1st battalion attacked on Sept. 11 and 12. The citation given to Taylor states that his squad was giving supporting fire to an attacking company that suffered heavy casualties from mortar, artillery, small arms and automatic weapons.
“He moved from his covered position and ran forward into the fire-swept area to aid the wounded,” the citation reads. Taylor carried the wounded to safety and was credited with saving at least two lives. He was awarded a commendation ribbon with a V for valor.
At least 20 Marines died and nearly 100 were wounded in the assault.
Taylor escapade injury in battles the 7th Marines fought after the Punchbowl, but he would lose more friends. One of his closest friends, David Champagne, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for picking up a grenade that landed in a foxhole filled with Marines and hurling it back. The grenade exploded as it left his hand and blew him out of the trench where he was killed by a mortar round. He died May 28, 1952. He was 19.
Honoring the fallen
Taylor left the Marines at the end of his enlistment and moved to Houston, where met his wife, Joan, and got a job in the oil and gas industry. He started his own oilfield services company in 1978 and retired in 1995. He purchased and restored a cluster of buildings on the corner of 21st Street and Post Office Street in Galveston, living upstairs and leasing three street-level buildings to restaurants.
He joined the Marine Corps League and began playing taps at funerals for fellow Marines, his wife said. As Guy Taylor explained in a YouTube video, one day he decided to play taps from his balcony in honor of fallen veterans.
That day, as it turns out, marked the just the beginning of what has become a seemingly permanent fixture in Galveston to honor the country’s fallen.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bld5atsRjUsIt's not how old you are, it's how you got here.
It's been a long road and not all of it was paved.
A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes. Gandhi
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