View from the White House Medal of Honor ceremony for Larry Taylor
By Mark Alexander
Some days are more interesting than others, while some are truly memorable.
Last week, being in the East Room for Larry Taylor's Medal of Honor award ceremony and East Wing reception would fall into the latter category. What follows are some impressions of those events.
The word "hero" is too often grossly misapplied by those, especially in the media, who don't have any reference point for what it actually means. Never before was that misuse as prolific as during the COVID pandemic, when we were inundated with "hero" proclamations, including plastic yard signs in front of homes occupied by those in the medical profession noting, "A Hero Lives Here."
But in the case of Capt. Larry Taylor, the word "hero" is understated.
To be clear, this event was not about the president, it was about an amazing Patriot warrior a year older than Joe Biden. But given the proximity of this celebration of valor to the anniversary date of the most disgraceful military exfiltration since Vietnam, Biden's surrender and retreat from Afghanistan, the "irony" of his presence, and that of the two commanders who executed that exfil — Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley — was unavoidable in a room full of American Patriots.
In July 2023, the upgrade of Larry Taylor's Silver Star to a Medal of Honor was approved, and the award was officially made last Tuesday. Because Larry is a deeply humble man, he would never have advocated for his own recognition. Thus, the upgrade effort was led by Gen. B.B. Bell (USA-Ret.), Advisory Board chairman of the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, and Dave Hill, the last surviving member of the patrol team Larry saved that deadly night 55 years ago.
When notified of the Medal upgrade, Larry responded simply, "I thought you had to do something to receive the Medal of Honor."
I have known Larry for 20 years, but yesterday was my first opportunity to meet Dave Hill. While these guys are a few years older than they were in the prime of their war-fighting days, they both still have plenty of badass in their bones.
Larry's Medal of Honor citation notes:
Perhaps the most moving moment of the day was when Larry shed a tear once the Medal was awarded.
Bravo Zulu, Larry! And thank you, Dave and B.B., for ensuring Larry's valorous actions were finally properly recognized! (Watch Larry's remarks and formal induction into the Hall of Heroes today.)
Regarding long overdue recognition for valorous actions, it was a privilege to meet for the first time MoH recipient Col. Paris Davis, who we profiled in March, when he was finally recognized for actions 58 years earlier. Again, these individuals are, by nature, humble warriors, and these lengthy delays are often the result of a lack of advocacy.
In fact, we believe the next two award recipients may be Charles Shadrack and George Wilson, members of Andrew's Raiders who have yet to be recognized posthumously for their actions in 1862. Those actions resulted in the first Medal of Honor awards in our nation's history to other members of the Raiders.
Of other impressions — Joe Biden appeared far more frail than Larry Taylor, who is contending with a life-threatening illness. The East Room is small, and Biden entered the room with Taylor assisting him on one side while a staff member held Biden's arm on the other. He appears far more frail in person than I anticipated. As is typical, he fumbled through his teleprompted script, struggling with the names of other recipients present. He also strained to close the Medal of Honor ribbon around Larry's neck as is tradition. Biden then abruptly left the room before the closing benediction, and he was not present at the reception.
Notably, notwithstanding his reinstated White House masking rule (though none of us present were in masks) after he was exposed to the latest strain of COVID, Biden removed his own mask despite the fact that he was in immediate proximity of Capt. Taylor.
Regarding Biden's profound ineptitude as president now, much less his fitness for another term, I wrote a year ago what to me seemed obvious at the time: "It's Official — Biden Will (NOT) Be the Demo Nominee in 2024." That assessment now seems apparent even to Democrats.
Finally, I have been in the White House several times for presidential events, though the last time I was there was to celebrate a great president, Ronald Reagan, at the end of his second term. The event this week honoring Larry was every bit as inspiring!
(Please support the National Medal of Honor Sustaining Fund with a designated gift through Patriot Foundation Trust, or make a check payable to Liberty Fund (noting MoH Sustaining Fund on the memo line), and mail it to Patriot Foundation Trust, PO Box 407, Chattanooga, TN 37401-0407.)
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.