Airmen Unfurl Flag 1

Hill Air Force Base Airmen alongside other military members and first responders serving in Utah unfurl an American flag during Patriot Night at the Ogden Pioneer Stadium in Ogden, Utah, July 22, 2019. The 150- by 78-foot flag provided by the non-profit Follow the Flag organization is referred to as 'The Major' in honor of Utah National Guard Major Brent Taylor. Taylor was killed November 2018 while serving in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

The death of Maj. Brent Taylor on Nov. 3, 2018, immediately stunned the community and brought statewide mourning for a leader and life gone early in service for his country.

Many have spent the last year gathered in remembrance and hope for the former North Ogden mayor, who would have been 40 this year.

In an effort to memorialize Taylor’s contributions and continue many of his life missions, a number of community-centered projects have emerged to continue his influence.

Through an act of Congress, the Northern Utah Vet Center was renamed the Major Brent Taylor Vet Center Outstation. Utah’s Rep. Rob Bishop and Sen. Mike Lee spearheaded the effort to get the name change, with President Donald Trump signing the bill into law in March.

The Brent Taylor Legacy Foundation (created by his wife Jennie Taylor and seven children) was launched, and is raising funds to erect the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in North Ogden — the first to be placed in Utah — by Memorial Day 2020 should the $60,000 be gathered. The Foundation is expected to promote voter turnout in local elections and support the arts, as well as fund scholarships at Brigham Young University and University of Utah. His name was also added to the BYU Memorial Wall in the Wilkinson Student Center, as he was an alumnus of the BYU ROTC program and the university.

Starting a foundation, which is no small feat, is not all Jennie Taylor has done since her husband’s sudden passing. She’s appeared at countless functions and causes to represent her family, her husband and families who have lost loved ones in the military — and she’s done so in the most gracious and inspiring manner despite mourning as a wife and mother. She was a special guest of Bishop during the 2019 State of the Union Address in Washington as a gesture of thanks to the Taylor family.

In the last year, Follow the Flag North Ogden was also created in a nod to Brent Taylor. The gigantic U.S. flag was secured as a tribute to all military veterans with the hope of inspiring more patriotism in others and will fly in Coldwater Canyon around Veteran’s Day. Jennie Taylor also accepted a Freedom Award from the Freedom Festival on her husband’s behalf, standing alongside an astronaut, 9/11 first responder and German immigrant. The family also served as grand marshals in the Freedom Festival parade, which attracts an estimated 300,000 spectators, who applauded the family along the route.

Brent Taylor was willing to pay the cost of freedom, and his family, friends and community have felt that firsthand over the past 12 months. His sacrifice has reaffirmed a sense of service, duty and commitment to us all — values that certainly haven’t been forgotten and never should.

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