The body of Spc. Nicholas A. Taylor will return to Indiana soil on Sunday, with a private ceremony to be conducted on the grounds of the 122nd Fighter Wing base of the Air National Guard in Fort Wayne at approximately 2 p.m. A family spokesman said Taylor's body will then be escorted to Berne and is expected to pass through Decatur at approximately 3:30 p.m.
Taylor, 20, of Berne, died on July 16 representing the Indiana National Guard in the country of Kandahar Providence, Afghanistan. He was the son of City of Berne Police Chief Timothy and Stephania Taylor, and brother of Drew and sisters Holly and Sophia.
The Taylor family are members of the congregation of First Missionary Church in Berne. Church officials in a statement released Wednesday extended a formal invitation for residents of Berne and surrounding communities to participate "as we honor and celebrate the life and legacy of this brave, fallen soldier."
Area residents are encouraged to show support for his family and friends on Sunday by lining the route from the airport to Ferguson Road to US 27 through Decatur and to Water Street in Berne to the Yager-Kirchhofer Funeral Home.
"We invite you to support the Taylor family and our great country with your presence along the route," the church's statement said. "We would also respectfully ask the businesses along the route to do their part by allowing those wishing to honor and celebrate Nick’s life to stand outside their place of business during the procession. Participants are encouraged to wear red, white and blue and carry American flags if possible."
Church officials request that all supporters remain on the sidewalks and green spaces.
Funeral services for Spc. Taylor will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 31, at South Adams High School. Visitation will be on Monday, July 30, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-8 p.m. in the South Adams gymnasium.
Burial will be at the M.R.E. Cemetery, Berne, with full graveside military rites.
The funeral and the viewing are open to the public.
The funeral processional will include the Berne Police Department, the Berne Fire Department, the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, military officials, hundreds of Patriot Guard riders, and others.
On behalf of the Taylor family, First Missionary Church requests that there be no video or audio recording in the gymnasium during the funeral service or the viewing, and that there be no video or pictures taken of the family during the viewing, funeral or gravesite ceremonies.