Saturday, August 23, 2014


Bobby Taylor was Born on the 5th of July. You won't find much anywhere about Bobby Taylor's life. Oliver Stone never made a mega Hollywood film celebrating his life story.. However, one can find Bobby's (Robert Thomas Taylor) name on the Vietnam War Memorial, along with the names of 58,000 other young men and boys who were killed in action. Bobby Taylor's life lasted all of twenty years.
Forty-four years later, Bobby is still remembered in the minds and hearts of those whose lives he touched. Facebook users, friends, neighbors who grew up during the 60's, knew him from their tightly knit Bishops Bend neighborhood. Mention his name, post something on that site about Bobby on Memorial Day--or any day-- and those same Babyboomers and neighbors relive some of their fondest memories of Bobby Taylor. Memories that will live on forever but were stolen from him at such an early age.
Bobby was the runt of the bunch of the Boys from Bishops Bend but that didn't stop him. He didn't back down from a Westside bully who wasn't pleased that he and some of his friends started socializing and dating girls from St. Mary's parish. He and girlfriend Denise were quite an item--a made for each other couple.
The Bishops Bend boys were heavily into sports. There were few days that they didn't play pickup basketball games--come rain, shine or snow. Shoveling snow off the basketball court, or anywhere there was a hoop attached to a pole or tree was where they gathered.
Summertime brought an opportunity for these young Babyboomers to play organized baseball games in the Boys Club league. Bobby wasn't afraid of being hit by a fastball, played aggressively and insisted on playing third base--the "Hot Corner" in baseball jargon.
In 1967, a handful of friends approaching draft age gathered on the embankment by the playground basketball court. The mood had changed from the happy-go-lucky days that these friends shared growing up to a more somber note. The topic of discussion was Vietnam and the seemingly unending war that they'd soon have to face. It was decision time for those who dropped out of college due to financial reasons and those close to draft age.
After a visit to the Army recruiter, the plan was set in motion. Some of the Bishops Bend boys decided to join Uncle Sam's Army under the "Buddy System"--where the Army would keep them together during training for as long as possible. By enlisting for three years, the chances of going to Vietnam as a  combat infantryman were unlikely. They would receive training as behind-the-lines backup support soldiers and, according to the recruiter, quite possibly not be sent to Vietnam at all.
A group of Bobby's childhood friends committed to enlist in the Army for three year. Bobby, however, who once talked about joining the Marines, chose to "Take his chances with the draft". Three years to eighteen and nineteen year olds seemed like an eternity. A two year commitment, if drafted, was more appealing to the brave young man coming of age in the late 60's.
Bobby Taylor was killed in action in Vietnam on February 27, 1970.