Taylor family overwhelmed by gift of battle cross
The family of the late Nick Taylor, who gave his life on behalf of United States military operations in Afghanistan last month, was visibly moved on Wednesday as a Fallen Soldier Battle Cross statue was unveiled in front of the Berne Public Safety Building in special ceremonies.
A drive to secure the statue was headed by local residents Chase Ingle and Taylor Turner and overwhelming supported by local businesses and residents.
Members of the Taylor family felt community support and love, and God's consoling presence of their total grieving time as they gazed on the statue for the first time Wednesday evening.
"There will never be words enough to express how much we appreciate all who have and are continuing to help us through the loss of our son, Nicholas Taylor," expressed Stephania Taylor of the community outpouring. "So many of you willingly stepped up and used your gifts and talents in helping us make Nick's life celebration a celebration way more than we could have imagined.
"The words thank you just do not seem near enough," continued Taylor. "Along with preparing for the celebration, so many of you helped in other ways, things such as keeping our house cleaned, running errands, bringing meals, sending cards, flowers and your kind words, helping out with Sophia, watering our flowers, mowing our yard, visiting with us. But the most valuable of all were the prayers that were sent up for us."
Taylor stressed that each single prayer was uplifting to their spirit. She emphasized that in the midst of deep mourning, they could feel God's presence among them.
"We are proud and truly blessed to come from such a wonderful community and surrounding areas," observed Taylor. "Our hope is that we can continue to be a community of outreach. Tim and I know for ourselves that it is not enough to just go to work every day, pay bills and get our children raised. Life is much more than that; each one of us has a purpose on earth. We need to take time and figure out just what it is.
"I know it was shared by many who spoke at Nick's celebration that Nicholas just simply loved people with his smile and energetic spirit," continued Taylor. "It cost him nothing but time and a little bit of effort. While trying to figure out your purpose, maybe you could start out with sharing a smile, or holding your tongue when frustrated with the person ahead of you in the check-out line or saying a kind word to someone who looks like they may be having a tough day.
"Each one of us have it inside of us; we just need to take time to find it and then simply share it," added Taylor. "I know we have said it before; it was the sinful world we live in that took Nicholas from us, not God. He was the one waiting to welcome Nick home. Our souls are at complete peace."
Ingle said that he graduated with Taylor and had spoken with him several times since he enrolled in military service. He noted that following the celebration service, the idea of a Fallen Soldier Battle Cross was discussed among many businesses and area residents.
"I went to the mayor and talked to him about the possibility of placing the statue here," said Ingle. "He told us that he would have to check with some things, but he thought it was a good possibility."
Ingle said that he wanted to see the statue by the safety building because Tim Taylor is the chief of police for Berne and Taylor had dreams of becoming a police officer following military service.
Ingle observed that those who helped with the project include Simons Manufacturing, Berne Ready Mix, Pine Lake, Keller Landscaping, Jud Myers, Mayor Bill McKean, Jim Newbold, Bill and Gary Liechty and Mike Liechty.
"He gave so much to us; we wanted to give a little back so he wouldn't be forgotten," said Turner. "It is a good feeling to know that community cares so much about it. It is amazing to see what happens in a small community."
The Battle Cross is considered to be a symbolic replacement of a cross on the battlefield. Its purpose is to show honor and respect for the fallen at the battle site. The practice started during the Civil War or maybe earlier as a means of identifying the bodies on the battleground as they were removed.
"When these kids came to my house, I was working in the garage," said Berne Mayor Bill McKean. "They wondered if this statue could go to the police station. I told them that we would have to check with the police.
"These are kids just out of high school, young adults taking on a project like this," added McKean. "I am very proud of them for this."
"The memorial statue honoring Nick at the Berne Public Safety Building is yet another kind and thoughtful gift given by the community," said Taylor. "Many came together and gave, not necessarily with dollars and cents but by using their gifts and resources. We thank you with all that we have in us. We are so grateful for each and every person who in any way has helped us out these last few weeks."
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