Jennie Taylor

Jennie Taylor, widow of Brent Taylor, the Utah Army National Guard major from North Ogden who was killed last year in Afghanistan, will attend the state of the union address by President Donald Trump on Feb. 5, 2019. She was invited by U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop. She's pictured here on Jan. 3, 2019, at North Ogden City Hall.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jennie Taylor, the widow of Brent Taylor, will be attending the State of the Union address by President Donald Trump next week at the invitation of U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop.

She’ll sit in the gallery of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., where the Feb. 5 address is to be given, Taylor said Thursday. But she was still getting additional details.

To be invited, she said, is “incredibly humbling,” and she sees the invitation as a way to honor her husband.

Brent Taylor, a major in the Utah Army National Guard, died last November while on deployment to Afghanistan. He was on temporary leave as North Ogden mayor, nearing the end of a year-long deployment, and his death shocked and saddened many across Utah and beyond.

Jennie Taylor doesn’t know if Trump will reference her husband during the State of the Union address. “That would be amazing if he did,” she said.

Lee Lonsberry, spokesman for Bishop, said the congressman meant the invitation as a gesture of thanks to Jennie Taylor and her family. Each congressman has a single invitation to give out to the state of the union address.

“She, her husband and her family have given so much,” Lonsberry said. “This is our small way of showing appreciation for that sacrifice.”

Jennie Taylor will also take part in a reception on Feb. 6 honoring her and her late husband, hosted by Bishop at the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Numerous groups and organizations have paid homage to Brent Taylor, Jennie Taylor and their seven children since Brent Taylor’s Nov. 3, 2018, death.

Jennie Taylor has consistently accepted the honors with humility. “We are one of thousands and thousands of gold star families in the history of the country,” she said by phone.

She has also taken her husband’s death as the price of protecting and defending the United States. Before the two of them met and fell in love, said Jennie Taylor, who previously worked as a high school government and history teacher, “We both loved America.”

Brent Taylor, 39, died after a member of the Afghan special services contingent he was helping train turned on him and attacked him. He was in his second term as North Ogden mayor.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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