Memorial Day speaker reminds Skaneateles of its larger purpose in the world theater.
In a world that seems to grow ever more complicated, Commodore Tim Taylor reminds Skaneateles of its purpose. That is of home. Speaking at Shotwell Park on Memorial Day, Taylor a native son, is the second in a line of 10. His mother, Catherine "Ellen" Taylor sat to his right on the sideline in the crowd.
"He was the first from Skaneateles High School to go to Annapolis," his mother said.
The Commodore achieved the rank of Captain during his tenure with the Navy, which included four years at the academy from '69 to'73; Eight years of active duty from'73 to '81; and 22 years in the reserves '81 to'03. He was engaged in the Vietnam and Desert Storm conflicts. Luckily, he delivered the mail with Don Stinson along Skaneateles' lakeshore to prepare him for his 34 years with the Navy.
"The theme I would like to convey to you this morning in the memory of our native sons or daughters who didn't come back -- honor, duty and the memory of Skaneateles," he told the crowd. And that Skaneateles' expectations for him were never far from his thoughts.
Taylor, who grew up on Fennell Street, told the overflowing crowd about being motivated by stories he heard in this very park by older Skaneateles gentlemen he referred to as geezers. One in particular was Newt Brown a freed slave who told Taylor he had been a drummer boy with the north during the Civil War.
From Taylor's speech:
"His (Newt Brown) tales of the times, and the plight of the people, were difficult for me to comprehend, for my world extended only from Hannum and Griffin Streets to State Street. But back then, we had Civil War Cards, the same size as baseball cards are today. I'd buy them at Talbot's, not that one across the street -- I don't think I could afford that -- but the 5 and 10 run by one of the dearest men of the town, Bill Talbot. I'd take those cards down to Newt and he would try to tell me a story about each one that depicted a battle scene. I don't know that I understood much of what he was telling me, but I do remember that it all sounded so exciting and glorious, because he made it all sound so honorable.