As the New York State Senate takes up a number of vital issues over the closing weeks of the 2013 legislative session there is still some time to break from the daily debate and focus attention on individuals who have gone the extra mile. This past week, just before Memorial Day, afforded just such an opportunity with a special ceremony to honor the exceptional men and women of the military who have served and sacrificed for our nation in the armed forces.
Each and every veteran deserves our recognition and thanks for defending our nation and protecting our way of life. One way the state senate has seen fit to honor our veterans is through a special on-line hall of fame. Established in 2005, the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame pays tribute to outstanding veterans from across the Empire State expressing our gratitude and admiration for their heroic deeds.
This year, it gives me great pride to recognize Kenneth Taylor of Franklin as a 2013 inductee to the hall of fame. During his admirable career as a Vietnam era soldier, Sergeant Taylor served as team leader of six-man long range reconnaissance patrols (LLRP) in Vietnam. The extremely dangerous missions performed by these units elicited strategic information that saved American lives and provided combat advantages for our forces. Sergeant Taylor’s courageous service earned him the Combat Infantry Badge, Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Air Medal.
Upon his retirement from active military service, Ken returned to his hometown of Franklin where he continued to serve in a leadership role. He is a dedicated 45 year member of American Legion Post 1689, serving in various ranking positions of responsibility. He has also served as a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America since 1979 and became a member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) in 2005.
Mr. Taylor’s longstanding commitment to these veterans’ organizations highlights how deeply he cares about the men and women who have served our nation. The breadth and depth of his contributions epitomize what “continuing to serve” has come to mean. His contributions here at home range from sending care packages to Afghanistan to maintaining veterans’ cemeteries. Ken’s service also includes fundraising for the New York State Veterans’ Home at Oxford and assisting with the physical relocation of its resident veterans to the new facility.
A special senate resolution adopted in recognition of the 2013 honorees reads in part:
WHEREAS, Members of the armed services from the state of New York, who have served so valiantly and honorably in wars in which this country's freedom was at stake, as well as in the preservation of peace in peace-time, deserve a special salute from this legislative body; and
WHEREAS, The banner of freedom will always wave over our beloved New York and all of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave; and
WHEREAS, The freedoms and security we cherish as Americans come at a very high price for those serving in the military in times of conflict; it is fitting and proper that we who are the beneficiaries of those who risk their lives, must never forget the courage with which these men and women served their country.
There are many more tales of valor and distinguished service like Ken’s and the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame is an ideal venue to trumpet the meritorious service of our military members. If you are interested in reading more about the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame inductees you can do so on-line through my website, www.senatorjimseward.com.
Finally, I want to say thank you to all who have served and are currently serving our nation. Your courage, sacrifice and achievement are something each and every American can be proud of.