National program honors fallen soldier from Berne

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) –  It’s been two years since Specialist Nick Taylor came back to Berne for the last time. He was killed in action in Afghanistan on July 16, 2012.  Taylor was assigned to the 81st Troop Command, 713th Engineering Company of the Army National Guard. Since then, the community has rallied together to support the family and honor their fallen hero. 

Click here to see a photo gallery honoring Specialist Nick Taylor.

Friday night was no exception as the family received a special flag dedicated to Nick. It came from the “Honor and Remember” program. According to the national program’s website, the mission is “to create, establish and promote a nationally recognized flag that would fly continuously as a visible reminder to all Americans of the lives lost in defense of our national freedoms.” The program is bringing flags to families across the country. Indiana is the 15th state to participate. Nick Taylor’s dedication marks the 49th flag to be issued in the country. The flag bears several different symbols. It includes a red field, a blue star, a white border, a gold star, a folded flag, and flame. It’s also personalized with the soldier’s name and date of death. The program’s website cites a special meaning behind each symbol:

Honor and Remember Flag“The Red Field represents the blood spilled by brave men and women in America’s military throughout our history, who willingly gave their lives so that we all would remain free. The Blue Star represents active service in military conflict. This symbol originated with World War I, but on this flag it signifies service through all generations from the American Revolution to present day.The White Border beneath and surrounding the gold star recognizes the purity of sacrifice. There is no greater price an American can pay than to give his or her life in service to our country. The Gold Star signifies the ultimate sacrifice of a warrior in active service who will not return home. Gold reflects the value of the life that was given. The Folded Flag signifies the final tribute to an individual life that a family sacrificed and gave to the nation. The Flame is an eternal reminder of the spirit that has departed this life yet burns on in the memory of all who knew and loved the fallen hero.”

That flag will now fly proudly both at the Taylor home as well as the the city of Berne. Stephania Taylor, Nick’s mother, said her employer already put up a flag pole in their front yard so the family can put the flag up immediately. The program also gives the soldier’s city a flag. Berne’s mayor, Bill McKean, said the city is looking forward to flying the flag every day in Nick’s honor. 

Specialist Nick Taylor
Specialist Nick Taylor

“Not that we would ever forget but it’s going to be good to see it waving in the wind and just knowing, yep, Nick’s right there,” Stephania Taylor, said.

The Taylor family said honoring Nick at this weekend’s Swiss Days festival captures his fun-loving and infectious spirit so perfectly.

“When Nicholas would come up to you and spoke just a few brief words, instantly, there was just a connection. It was never about Nicholas. When he would be all quirky and fun, he just wanted to see people smile so he was going to do what he had to do to make you do that. He didn’t put stipulations. None of that mattered. Nick simply loved people,” Stephania said.

The community love and support is something the family said they’ve drawn upon since Nick’s death.

“From day one, this community and the surrounding communities have done nothing but support us. Living in a small town and especially in Berne, we wouldn’t choose otherwise. Berne is unique and that has helped us daily because of the support we continue to have,” Stephania said.

That support as well as their faith is what the family said keeps them strong.

“It is because of Christ that we can get up every day and have the assurance that we are going to see our son again,” Stephania said.

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