Today, my husband sent me this link. These were pictures taken at my friend, Dave's funeral. I was not prepared for my reaction to these pictures. I started bawling right away. The tears would not stop. Luckily, I had to go downstairs to tend to my children. I'm posting the eulogy given by his brother. Please read it. It's beautiful. And, please say some prayers for his family. His widow is taking it very hard. They would have celebrated their 4th anniversary this past December 21st.
Dave's eulogy by his brother, John:
A eulogy by John Taylor, brother of MAJOR DAVID G. TAYLOR, killed in Baghdad Iraq on October 22, 2006.
On behalf of the Taylor, Thresher, Seckar, Overman, and Goodwin families, I would like to thank you all for attending. "This man need not be magnified in death, larger than he was in life." was the quote used at David's grandfather's funeral in 1999, borrowed from Robert Kennedy's funeral eulogy. Both David and his grandfather, whom he called "Nannie" were plain spoken, practical and took care of business. David was born at Ft Hood, Texas 37 years ago. He traveled to Ft Knox, Kentucky -as an infant and back to Olive Chapel when he was a year old. He and my mother stayed with our grandparents, Doris and JC Overman here in Apex [North Carolina] during our father's second tour to Viet Nam. We grew up in Cookeville, Tennessee where our dad taught ROTC; we moved to Ft Bragg, Schweinfurt and Heidelberg, Germany-returning to Olive Chapel in the summers to enjoy life at "Nannie and Mom's.". One of my favorite early childhood memories of David occurred when we lived in Heidelberg. BJ Dunlevey, a neighborhood bully, ordered me outside to the playground for a showdown, a fight of monumental proportions. Truth be told, I think my mouth got me in trouble. Word spread like wildfire among the apartment buildings in Mark Twain Village. BJ was two years older and much bigger than I, if you can believe that. David took me aside before the showdown, the gunfight at the MTV Corral-- and said "John, you have to fight your own battles, but that doesn't mean I can't help you out some." He taped some German Pfenning coins to my hands, then put my hands inside gloves. I felt like I had angels on my shoulders when I marched downstairs and met BJ on the playground. BJ took one look at my homemade brass knuckles and ran away. David saved the day and gave me playground bragging rights for months. These things are important to a 7 year old kid. This little story exemplifies our relationship. David let me make mistakes, let me live my life, but he was always there to offer advice, support, and love. I revered David and I have always held his values and choices up as a model I should follow. This is not to say my brother was a perfect little angel. David had a talent for knowing exactly what he could and couldn't do; sometimes gleefully crossing that line. There was the time the Raleigh Police chased him and a fellow officer out of a Raleigh dance club because David took offence at perceived discrimination again Army soldiers-- and David then had to use his Army jungle survival training to evade capture...I remember him knocking on my dorm door at 3:30am covered from head to toe in mud. Then there were the numerous times he scaled the very-closed and very-locked Leiman swimming pool in Germany for late night kamikaze cannonballs off the 10 meter board. David truly understood what it meant to live life to its fullest, the whole time assuring our parents he was a model Ambassador representing the US abroad.
Always a leader and often bossy-- can you imagine that? David reached the rank of Eagle scout at age 13. He was president of his senior class at HHS, earning 2 ROTC scholarships for college-and graduating with a Political Science major from Davidson College where he entered the military as a 2nd LT in 1991. David's life as he knew it, was about to change when he met "the one"! David first met Michelle at a computer convention in St. Louis. David encountered her in the hotel courtyard where Michelle thought David arrogant, too confident and irreverent. I'm sure we're all shocked by such an initial assessment. But he left a lasting impression on Michelle. David's always had that ability. And when she was visiting Georgia for a political protest, which mortified David, they reconnected and she was won over by his sensitive heart. They were as different as night and day when it came to politics-but they both respected the other's views and often entertained themselves by pushing each other's buttons in playful ways. In describing Michelle to his parents, David paid her the ultimate compliment-and described her as a "good Catholic girl." He was welcomed into the Thresher family and both loved and greatly respected Joanne and Joe. They weren't exactly in-laws as much as they were genuine family. Much of their relationship has been conducted "long-distance"-from their days of dating to their separation due to his military responsibilities. This seemed to strengthen their relationship and they cherished the times they were physically in the same place. Their marriage worked because they made it work and they pressed through the obstacles that could have easily divided lesser couples.
In spite of David's playful side, he was modest and self-effacing-the ONLY instructions David left in the event of his death while in Kosovo was that the popularized Bette Midler song ,"Wind Beneath my Wings" should not be sung at his funeral. Please note this is not in the program today.
You'd have to know David to get this next part, but people who call him friend will agree, he lived by a code. If you want to write these down, please get out a pen and take notes.
These are Dave's life lessons:
1. Life isn't fair-- get over it!
2. Freedom isn't free, someone has to pay the price, and it might as well be you.
3. Things often get worse before they get worse.
4. No whining.
5. Take care of your own business.
6. Sometimes you just need to find your backbone to do the right thing.
7. People who do the right thing aren't heroes, they are just doing
the right thing.
8. You are probably not entitled to any thing you didn't work for.
David was a soldier's soldier who would not like this part of the service. He was mostly modest-- he really was-- and he believed that the best soldier was the soldier who fought quietly for his country--not out of any Hollywood styled sense of patriotism but rather because it was an inherent duty and part of his obligation as a citizen living in this country.
David and the rest of his men appreciated the cards and goodies people sent. I would routinely send him Haribo gummibears from GermanDeli.com. One of the first things David would do when he got the packages was to bring all the men in and let them get first dibs on the treats. He loved and cared for his men, that was one of the reasons he wanted to leave the relative safety of a headquarters unit and head to a forward base camp. He wanted to offer whatever he could to the troops out on the line. He was very simply, a good and decent man. He was bothered that other soldiers were taking risks to get the job done, and he felt he needed to take his place amongst them and do his bit.
This fall my mother had her students write cards to the soldiers in David's unit. In an email dated 2 days before David died, he said the following:
We had a Staff Sergeant killed and three Soldiers in their vehicle seriously injured yesterday in an IED attack. It puts something of a fog over the place. My patrol guys were the first responders and they knew the guys; these men needed something like those cards you sent to remind them that the world is still out there, waiting for them to get back to it. I can't promise they'll all write back to the students, but that's only because we're leaving shortly and everyone is working 19 hour days to get things ready. The cards definitely were a hit. I asked a couple of them afterwards "did you get a card from the American school kids in England ?" In every case, they were very animated in their responses. That's a great thing and shows how little it takes to lift someone's spirits.
One of my mother's students at London Central summed up David's death by saying that "you should be proud of him-he was trying to keep us safe. And that is the greatest honor anyone can have." Another wrote: "Your son was fighting for what everyone in Iraq is fighting for-peace and to help other countries live in a world without violence giving hope where there is none."
David once mentioned to me that there are those people who merely talk about America and our wonderful freedom, rights and privileges and then there are those who step up and put their money where their mouth is. David came from a long line of military men. Our proud and decorated father, David Sr., was an armored cav. officer who did two tours in Viet Nam, his father-in-law, Joe Thresher, served in Vietnam, our grandfather, Kenneth Taylor, was a WWII naval officer, and our other grandfather, JC Overman, was a staff sergeant who was critically wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. Our great-grandfather, John Overman Sr. served in WWI and our great-uncles served in WWII.
Hearts are breaking all over the world. Rarely has a man touched so many lives. LTC John Holden, a British officer in the Queen's Royal Artillery, currently serving in Basrah, Iraq, received letters and treats from my mom's students just as David's soldiers did. LTC Holden wrote: "Only the brave, who have stood the line, can comment on what has been done out here. And the glimmer of democracy and liberty in this once biblical land is a wonderful thing to behold. There are many who would say we are failing-but they are the doubters and the weak. Your son had courage and was one who believed in the true value of freedom.
David really wasn't afraid in the traditional sense-he was aware, careful and sensitive to danger. He referred to the enemy just as "the bad guys" and felt sorry that they had poor guidance and a flawed sense of what constitutes humanity.
It is ironic that David died in the biblical land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which is believed to be the site of the Garden of Eden. He was killed by the very people he came to help.
David desperately loved his wife Michelle, and baby Jake. Everyone agreed that the happiest times was when Michelle and Jake entered his life. He loved me very much. And was a good son to his parents. David loved and was attentive to his grandparents and "Mom", Doris Overman, held a special place in his heart. He likewise loved and embraced the Thresher and Seckar family.
On a balmy Sunday afternoon David sent his loved ones emails assuring them that he was O.K and told his beloved Michelle that he loved her, noting that he had the best wife, son and even a ribbon winning dog Max. He then got in his Humvee with several of his troops. David was killed instantaneously when an IED exploded. He did not take the Iraqi insurgents' misguided extremism personally; he simply believed that evil had to be challenged and somebody had to take the lead.
Finally, there are only two defining forces who have ever offered to die for you. One is Jesus Christ and the other is the American GI. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom. May we never forget either.
If you made it through that, thank you.