Body of Maj. Brent Taylor, Utah mayor killed in Afghanistan, returns to US
The body of Utah mayor and Army National Guard major Brent Taylor arrived in the United States on Election Day -- a somber homecoming his widow called "fitting."
Taylor, who was shot and killed in an insider attack in Afghanistan on Saturday, had only days earlier praised the Afghan people who fearlessly filled up polling stations during that country's parliamentary elections and also exhorted Americans to vote in Tuesday's midterm elections.
“It seems only fitting that Brent, who in death represents so much more, has come home to U.S. soil in a flag-draped casket on our Election Day,” Jennie Taylor said during an eloquent address in which she memorialized the ultimate sacrifice made by her husband. “The price of freedom surely feels incredibly high to those of us who know and love our individual soldier. The value of freedom is immeasurable to those who love American and all she represents."
Jennie ended her remarks by echoing Brent Taylor's call to cast a ballot.
“Brent himself put it best just days ago when he implored of us all, ‘I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote and whether the Republicans or Democrats win I hope that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us,” she said.
Military officials said the 39-year-old North Ogden mayor was killed in Kabul by an Afghan commando he was training. The assailant was then killed by Afghan forces. Taylor is the eighth American killed in action in Afghanistan this year.
Maj. Taylor had been expecting to return as Mayor Taylor in January. Aside from his wife, Taylor leaves behind seven children, ranging from 11 months old to 13 years old.
“To say that our hearts are anything less than shattered would be nothing short of true deceit and yet to deny the sacred honor that it is to stand that close to some of the freshest blood that has been spilt for our country would be absolute blasphemy,” Jennie said.
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Following news of Taylor's death, condolences poured in from far and wide. One of the letters was written by Maj. Abdul Rahman Rahmani, an Afghan Army Aviation pilot. Rahmani tweeted the letter, which he addressed to Jennie, saying he was a “better person” after meeting Taylor.
“He died on our soil but he died for the success of freedom and democracy in both of our countries,” Rahmani wrote.
Taylor, a military intelligence officer with Joint Force Headquarters, served two tours in Iraq and was on his second tour in Afghanistan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.