Local Veteran honored by Freedom Foundation
The Chattanooga-Valley Forge Chapter of the Freedom Foundation honored those who have made a difference in the community Sunday afternoon. One Retired Captain received the Distinguished Military Service Award.
Larry Taylor is a Retired Captain with the U.S. Army who lives on Signal Mountain. He served in Vietnam as a helicopter gun-ship pilot. Sunday he was honored for his heroics there.
Back in 1968, Larry Taylor rescued four U.S. Army soldiers who were surrounded by a North Vietnam Battalion. Captain Taylor said his actions never affected him until recently when he met a wife of one of the men he saved.
"She said these are my children, these are my grandchildren, and these are my great-grandchildren. If you hadn't picked up my husband that night, none of us would exist,” Taylor told us.
When they came back from Vietnam, he said they were spat on and called names. Today, people show respect for him.
"People do come up and they genuinely appreciate what you did."
He was put on an Honor Air Flight to Washington out of Knoxville recently. When he returned, the entire airport was filled with people who came to thank the veterans. It made him emotional to see their gratitude, something he didn't have fifty years ago.
Taylor said, "The people on the ground and their families appreciated it, but I think that maybe the pendulum is swinging the other way."
His heroism earned him the Silver Star Award. Now, paperwork has been submitted to upgrade that to the Medal of Honor. If Captain Taylor received the Medal of Honor, he believes it would give him a platform to educate and inspire the youth.
"It would open the door to speak to the younger generation, the kids in school. To try to instill the patriotism that my generation had,” Taylor said.
When he sees people in uniform, he always makes it a priority to thank them for their service.