Plymouth‚Äôs Memorial Day Parade will step off from the Terryville Fire House at 10:30 a.m., with ceremonies beginning at 11 a.m. at Baldwin Park. Long-time Plymouth resident and World War II Veteran Charlotte Taylor will be this year‚Äôs Grand Marshal
American Legion Post 20 Commander Keith Golnik said he is ‚Äúdelighted and honored‚ÄĚ to have Taylor as the parade‚Äôs Grand Marshal.
‚ÄúShe‚Äôs the longest-serving member of Plymouth Post 20 with 74 years of continuous membership,‚ÄĚ Golnik said. ‚ÄúCharlotte‚Äôs military service and her ongoing dedication to her country and community is an inspiration to us all.‚ÄĚ
Taylor enlisted in the US Coast Guard in September 1944, having to wait until she was 21 years old, since her mother was reluctant to sign the paperwork allowing her to enlist earlier.
‚ÄúAlthough my mother wasn‚Äôt about to let me enlist sooner, I know she was proud to have a daughter doing her part to win the war,‚ÄĚ Taylor said. ‚ÄúWomen in the military faced many more challenges than our male counterparts, but I felt led to help my country, even if I had to wait longer than I wanted to enlist.‚ÄĚ
Taylor completed her basic training in Palm Beach, Florida, and was then assigned to the Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC, until her discharge in May 1946. During her tour of duty, Taylor was a yeoman in the high-security naval engineering office, handling a variety of administrative and secretarial duties.
‚ÄúMuch of my work was involved with classified information, and we were always reminded by our officers that ‚ÄėLoose lips sink ships,‚Äô‚ÄĚ Taylor said.
Taylor explained that she was daily responsible for destroying copies of all correspondence and reports she had prepared, since her duties were directly connected to location and crew complement of all Coast Guard vessels operating in the various war zones.
During her assignment in Washington, Taylor was promoted from Yeoman Third Class to Yeoman Second Class, following successful completion of a competitive and accelerated training course.
Originally from Howard Beach, NY, Taylor was home on leave when Japan surrendered in 1945, and made her way to Times Square on Aug. 15, 1945, amid a sea of people celebrating the U.S. victory.
‚ÄúWhat an opportunity to be in Times Square on ‚ÄėVJ‚Äô Day,‚ÄĚ Taylor said. ‚ÄúHuge crowds, tickertape flying everywhere, and because I was in uniform, free drinks offered at every bar I passed. And yes, I had a few,‚ÄĚ
Golnik said Taylor is ‚Äúone of the last of an amazing generation.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI look forward to hearing more ‚Äėwar stories' when we get together,‚ÄĚ he said.