“It hurts me to say that most of the boys that went out there with me are no longer here. But I am doing all I can to keep their names out there for you. Thank you.”
It’s what a tearful Ray Taylor said after receiving a proclamation from the Borough of Fair Haven last week in honor of his service as a World War II and Korean War veteran and 91-year resident of Fair Haven who has consistently served the borough as a veteran who spearheaded the creation of Fair Haven’s Memorial Park that honors veterans from the borough.
Taylor was the “first speaker at borough ceremonies since the time he returned from World War II in 1946, touching the hearts of many,” Mayor Ben Lucarelli said at last week’s Borough Council meeting.
“As long as any of us can remember, Ray has spoken at our Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies,” the mayor said. “He is a very special human being. This year his words were so poignant that I was moved to say this is a special individual and he should be recognized.”
So, a proclamation and keys to both the borough and the park were given to Taylor.
Taylor and his wife, Elizabeth, raised seven children in Fair Haven. They have 20 grandchildren and “many great grandchildren,” Lucarelli said, reading from the proclamation, which he said was bestowed upon Taylor as an expression of borough residents’ and staff’s “deep appreciation and gratitude to Ray for his many years of selfless public service to his country and his hometown.
“We wish him many more years of health and continued happiness.”
Taylor, 93, was born on June 24, 1922 in Long Branch. Moving to Fair Haven in 1924, he has spent 91 years in the borough. He served in the U.S. Army in World War II from 1942 to 1946 and in the Korean War in the 1950s when he worked his way up to the rank of sergeant first class and received a distinguished service medal and a Korean War commemorative medal.
While serving in World War II, he was stationed in Australia, New Guinea, New Britain, Guam, the Philippenes, Japan and spent 14 months in Alaska.
He was stationed in the Asian Pacific during the Korean War.
Both the boroughs of Rumson and Fair Haven will commemorate Veterans Day on the same day, same time — Nov. 11 at 11 a.m..
“The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,” Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli said.
In Rumson, the ceremony will take place in the usual spot by the war memorial in Victory Park. It will feature members of the armed forces and veterans of various wars as highlighted speakers and participants.
In Fair Haven, the service will take place at Memorial Park. Remaining World War II vets from the borough will be in attendance, the town’s oldest living World War II and Korean War vet, Ray Taylor, 93, will be a featured speaker.
“He’s (Taylor) is a very special man,” Lucarelli said. “It’s always an honor to hear him speak.”
Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect will feature photo galleries of both events.