Berne hero laid to rest
The signs started five miles from Berne on Indiana 27, “Nicholas Taylor, Hero.”
Spc. Nicholas Taylor, 20, and another Indiana National Guardsman were killed July 16 when they came under attack by enemy rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire in Wali Kot District, Afghanistan, military officials said.
On Tuesday, Berne laid its fallen hero, Taylor, to rest. The South Adams High School gym was nearly filled to capacity as family, friends, politicians and military gathered to pay tribute. Pastor Max Haines told the gathering that the day was to be a celebration of Taylor's life.
“It is the express wishes of the family that this be a celebration of who he was and because of who he is,” Haines said.
Taylor was remembered as a Christian and a giver, someone who, when asked by his mother to give up his old coat to someone less fortunate, insisted on giving up his new one instead. He was remembered as an athlete and a leader, someone who would sacrifice his own goals for the good of the team.
Stephanie Taylor, Nick's mother, thanked all those who came forward to support her and her family. She wanted people to know her son is in a better place and she relayed a conversation she had with him the last time he was home. He told her if he was killed, he was right with the Lord.
“God didn't take him from us, this world did,” Taylor said.
Gov. Mitch Daniels spoke at the funeral and told the crowd that speaking at gatherings such as those would be one of the things he will miss the least when his term ends, but that he recognizes it as being the most important duty he has while in office.
“Nick Taylor was an all-American boy, and no state could have enough of him,” Daniels said.
“We will weep, we will honor, we will make your life known, this day and always,” Daniels said.
Taylor's body was taken to the cemetery by a horse-drawn caisson. Residents of Berne lined the route, holding signs and flags. Jan Solano stood by, wearing a red, white and blue flag hat and holding a small American flag.
She recalled her grandson ran track with Taylor in high school, and how they would still run together when Taylor was home on leave, and how she told him to simply refer to her as grandma. Taylor, Solano said, was just a great kid.
“You can bet he got his wings,” Solano said.
Taylor, a 2010 South Adams graduate, planned to attend IPFW and study criminal justice.