WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yes, seeing President Donald Trump, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, the president’s cabinet and the other political leaders — it was a thrill.
But Jennie Taylor, widow of Brent Taylor and special guest of U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop at Tuesday’s State of the Union address, offered the biggest praise for the special guests Trump invited, in a phone interview from Washington, D.C., after the speech.
There was Grace Eline, a young girl who battled cancer, Timothy Matson, the Pittsburgh police officer who helped in the response to last October’s shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, and several others.
Those “great Americans,” Taylor said, moved her the most and, for her, underscore the greatness of the United States. “That’s what makes the state of the union strong.”
Bishop invited Taylor to attend as a gesture of thanks to her and her family in the wake of her husband’s death last November in Afghanistan. Brent Taylor, a major in the Utah Army National Guard, died while on deployment to Afghanistan. He was on temporary leave as North Ogden mayor, nearing the end of a year-long deployment, when one of the Afghani special forces he was helping train, turned on him and attacked him. News of his death shocked and saddened many across Utah and beyond.
Trump, in his address in the U.S. House chamber, said he had “accelerated our negotiations” to reach a political resolution to the war in Afghanistan, including the Taliban and other Afghan groups in the talks.
“We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement — but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace,” Trump said. “And the other side would like to do the same thing. It is time.”
Jennie Taylor, in response, said no one prays more for peace than service members and their families.
“That’s always the goal,” she said. “Do we pray for peace, hope for resolution? Absolutely.”
At the same time, she noted her husband’s love of country, his sense of duty to serve the United States “whenever, wherever asked.”
The state of politics can get rancorous, and Taylor noticed some demonstrations of partisanship during Trump’s speech, but nothing over the top. “I think everyone was respectful. ... For the most part, I felt it was something we were addressing as Americans,” she said.
Taylor is to scheduled to attend a reception hosted by Bishop on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., honoring her late husband.