Communicating in Morse code was standard for U.S. military radio operators’ transmissions during World War II. For Dr. Heber Taylor, the secret language he learned more than 65 years ago for that wartime role had to feel unfamiliar for someone who aspired to a career as a wordsmith.
The story of his journey back to Europe in summer 2010 required no such clandestine language.
In ACU Today’s Spring 2011 issue, Dr. Charlie Marler (’55), who counts Taylor as his first journalism teacher at Abilene Christian University, tells a fascinating story about the former 10th Armored Division vet and his triumphant return to France to receive a Luxembourg Legion of Honor medal.
Taylor was Marler’s journalism professor from 1951-55 at ACU. Marler is now professor emeritus of journalism and mass communication, and director of graduate studies.
Taylor and his fellow American soldiers from the 80th Medical Battalion served in the Battle of the Bulge.
“You can’t imagine the Luxembourgers’ appreciation for the vets who were there,” Taylor says. “A grateful French group called ‘Association Moselle River 1944’ invited all the American veterans who crossed the Moselle River in November 1944 to attend a week-long celebration of the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II. The celebration began on June 15. On the day that the French celebration ended, a three-day commemoration in Luxembourg began, hosted by the U.S. Veterans’ Friends of Luxembourg.”
The American vets who once helped liberate Nazi-occupied Europe were honored in celebrations in Luxembourg City, Malling, Terville, Moutfort, Yutz and numerous small towns.
“One French lady asked how old I was when I over there during the war,” says Taylor, now 86. “When I said ‘20,’ tears came to her eyes.”
You can read Marler’s Second Glance essay, “Undying Gratitude,” here:
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