Honor your hero with thoughts, memories, images and stories.
2010 Deployment to Afghanistan
1st Battalion 2d Marine Regiment
Camp Lejeune, N.C.
KIA: June 26, 2010 in Helmand province, Afghanistan
Marine’s final mission
TRENTON, Ga. – Several hundred flag-waving supporters witnessed Taylor Richards’ final trip through Dade County on Friday. The body of the U.S. Marine Corps lance corporal was driven around Trenton on a ceremonial ride marking his return home six days after his death in a combat zone in Afghanistan. “Wherever he’s watching from right now, I know he’s got to feel proud that this many people love him,” said Charles Anderson, a former Dade County High School classmate of the 20-year-old Marine. About 3:15 p.m., cars from the Dade County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia State Patrol rolled through the downtown traffic circle with blue lights strobing. Moments later, a white hearse and two limousines with U.S. flags and red Marine Corps banners flapping atop the windows made their solemn lap around the square. Standing among the 400 supporters downtown, Donna McElhaney held hands with those around her and sobbed quietly as the somber procession rolled through. She said Cpl. Richards lived with her family for a period and he played with her son in their Red Label Bluegrass Band. “He deserves it,” she said of the turnout. “I’m surprised there aren’t more.” About 2:45 p.m. the crowd quieted when a boom box in the square broadcast a Trenton radio station’s moment of silence followed by a recorded version of taps and “The Star Spangled Banner.” A bugler played a live rendition of taps when the hearse passed a half hour later. Fifteen-year-old Miranda Smith held a sign calling Cpl. Richards a “Dade County hero” and thanking him for his sacrifice. She said the youth group at Rising Fawn United Methodist Church, where Cpl. Richards sometimes attended, made several similar signs. “A lot of people miss him,” she said. Donna and George Martin drove from Chickamauga and held a five-foot American flag out of their passenger window as they waited for the motorcade. On the eve of Independence Day weekend, Cpl. Richards should remind everyone of the sacrifices made for this country, Mrs. Martin said. “It’s mighty little to do for what these boys and girls do for us,” she said of the procession. “He gave everything he possibly had so we could be here and sleep tonight and go to church on Sunday.” Aaron McGill graduated from Dade High a year before Cpl. Richards and, his voice breaking with emotion, said the Marine was instrumental in getting him into music. Like many in the crowd, he remembered his friend’s talents singing, playing guitar and picking his banjo. “He was a friend and, above all else, he was a hero,” he said.