Culpeper native and World War II veteran George Taylor has a handful of awards in his collection to honor his heroic military service.
So far, Taylor has received a WWII victory medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign medal with two campaign stars and bronze arrowhead, good conduct medal and a Croix de Guerre (Cross of War medal) from the French government.
Taylor was also in attendance, during the 50th anniversary of D-Day celebration in Madison County where the late French businessman Jean Leducq — who founded Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery in 1982 — hosted a special tribute to the Greatest Generation.
Now the 89-year-old widowed father of three is nominated for the 2011 Congressional Veteran Commendation through 7th District Congressman Eric Cantor’s office. According to Megan Whittemore, deputy press secretary for Cantor, his office receives 10 to 15 nominations each year.
“I feel great about it,” said Taylor of the nomination.
The winners will be honored during a ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond in November.
A U.S. Army sergeant assigned to the 502nd Port Battalion, Taylor landed on the beaches of Normandy during D-Day on June 6, 1944.
“In order to get in, we had to wade over dead American bodies. The water was red with American blood. I saw thousands and thousands of poor guys that didn’t make it,” recalled Taylor, during his interview with the Star-Exponent in March.
His active military service lasted 33 months from March 31, 1943 until he was honorably discharged on Jan. 10, 1946. Taylor was drafted at the age of 20, some 68 years ago.
After learning more about the Congressional Commendation earlier this year, Gulf War and Iraq veteran Keith Price, of Culpeper, nominated Taylor for the honor.
“As a soldier who went ashore on Omaha Beach on D-Day and who served the Culpeper community for decades after his return from the Army, Mr. Taylor is an excellent candidate for the CVC,” said Price, senior vice commander for VFW Post 2524. “Mentally, he’s sharp as a tack with an amazing memory, and it was fascinating to spend a couple of hours talking to him about his life. It was my pleasure and honor to nominate him.”
Sponsored by the CVC and the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project, the commendation was created “to honor the distinguished veterans of Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District and to preserve their stories for future generations of Americans.”
“Throughout history, many brave men and women have been willing to risk their lives fighting to defend our freedom and protect our country. Here in the 7th District, we have a proud history of distinguished military service,” said Cantor. “There is no better way to uphold that legacy for future generations than to recognize and honor our heroes for their courage and service to our country.”
One of the qualifications to receive this award is the recipient must have served in World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War and/or Iraq War.
Upon his return, Taylor married his wife, Alice Washington, in September 1952, and the couple has three children: George Jr., Karl and Rosalynn.
As for work, George Taylor and his brother Herbert started Taylor Brothers Home Builders in 1952, specializing in residential construction for 41 years.
Taylor, who lives in the home he built himself on James Monroe Highway, is also a lifetime member of the VFW Post 2524.
If selected for this honor, Taylor won’t be the first Culpeper veteran to receive this recognition from the congressman’s office.
U.S. Army Major Bill Chase, Jr., a longtime member of the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors, received the honor in 2010, U.S. Marine Sgt. Lacy G. Sanford in 2009 and U.S. Navy Chief Pharmacists’ Mate Lester Petermann in 2007.