FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 6, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG SPEAKS AT FUNERAL SERVICE FOR ARMY SERGEANT AND POLICE OFFICE DEON TAYLOR
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's eulogy as prepared
"Major General Taluto, Commissioner Kelly, Pamela, Leon, and Da'Rue, and the many other friends and family of Army Sergeant and Police Officer Deon Taylor: Good morning. I may have not known Sergeant Taylor personally but on the day he graduated from the Police Academy in July of 2005, I was privileged to be there at Madison Square Garden to welcome him into the department. At those ceremonies, I always look out into the sea of blue uniforms and pray that each and every one of those officers will come home safely at the end of every day.
"When a member of New York's Finest dies - whether on the streets of New York or 7,000 miles away in a foreign country - a part of our city dies with them. But a much bigger part lives on because of them.
"Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that ‘to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived is to have succeeded.' By that token, Deon achieved the greatest possible success in life. Just think of all the people who are breathing easier because of him: First, there are his fellow eight and a quarter million New Yorkers.
"Deon kept us safe during his years as a transit officer patrolling the West Side subways on the midnight shift. Then later, as an undercover narcotics officer, he put himself at incredible risk to get drugs and guns off our streets, making them safer for families and businesses.
"Second, there are his fellow Americans. Two days ago, millions of us went out to the polls to exercise our democratic right to vote. That's a right we enjoy only because brave soldiers like Deon have laid down their lives in defense of our freedoms. We must never forget that.
"And there's yet another group of people whose lives have been touched by Deon Taylor. I'm talking about the people of Afghanistan - who are struggling to build their own Democratic nation. That's something they're beginning to accomplish because Americans like Deon are willing to stand up for them.
"In remembering Deon over these past few days, his colleagues in the NYPD have often brought up his incredible sense of calm. That's exactly the quality that made Deon a first-rate soldier and an excellent undercover narcotics officer. As an undercover, Deon could walk into a potentially dangerous situation and make everybody comfortable - including the drug dealers.
"That steadiness allowed him to make countless drug busts, and it helped keep his fellow officers safe. Another remarkable thing about Deon is that when he got back from the field, he didn't need any time at all to decompress. He started right on his paperwork, without skipping a beat.
"I don't know what it was that gave Deon his boundless energy - maybe it was all the chicken thighs from Kennedy Fried Chicken, which I'm told he ate morning, noon, and night - but Deon represented the best of the NYPD.
"Deon will be sorely missed. But those who had the good fortune to know him will carry in their hearts the memory of a smile so warm that you couldn't help but smile back. A mind so sharp it could store countless facts and figures about every sport, from tennis to ice hockey to auto racing. And a heart so big it had room enough for the Knicks and their nemesis, Michael Jordan.
"But as everyone here knows, the softest spot in Deon's heart was reserved for his beloved son, Da'Rue.
"Da'Rue: You were Deon's first thought in the morning, his last thought at night, and every other thought in between. I know the months ahead are going to be difficult for you. I was a young man when my father died, and I can still remember that feeling. But the tears do eventually turn to smiles. My mother and sister and I talk about my father today, and we laugh as we share memories. I know he would have wanted us to go on, to live our lives, and follow our dreams - just as your father would want for you.
"Today, our burden of grief is heavy- but the NYPD is a family, and a family looks after its own. In the case of Deon Taylor, the NYPD is also a family in the most literal sense. Deon followed the example of his uncle and cousin in joining the department. He also inspired his brother and two more cousins to become members of the NYPD.
"To them I say: I hope it brings some comfort to know that when you are doing your duty, protecting our city. You will be doing exactly what Deon would have wanted you to do - and you'll be making him happy.
"Deon gave his life so that we could live ours - safely and peacefully. On behalf of the people of the City of New York, I want to tell you that we are eternally grateful. We'll never know how much more Deon could have accomplished here on Earth, but we do know this - first: millions of people are breathing easier today because of Deon Taylor's service to his country and his city. And second: the Knicks will have a special angel in their corner this season.
"May God bless the memory of Deon Taylor. May God bless the lives he touched. And may God continue to bless the United States Armed Forces and the NYPD."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958