On this Veterans Day as the country, and especially those of the local community, pause to remember the patriotic contributions made by those so close around them, some special and inspiring personalities emerge on horizon.
Santa Rosa County is second to none when it comes to noting and honoring those veterans who have so positively impacted national as well as local history. And although there are plenty of them, some stand out in the front ranks when it comes to service of national significance.
The late Pauline (Polly) Taliaferro is a prime example of someone in the local community who has made a major contribution that everyone can relate to. While working in Walter Reed Army Medical Center during World War II, “Polly,” as most everyone remembers her, was chosen to pose for the recruiting poster for what is now known as The Army Nurse Corps.
As the “picture poster” of this year’s Veterans Day memorial, Taliaferro brought recognition beyond the call to a community she adopted as her own. And although a native of Marcus Hook, Penn., Talliaferro practiced her talent here as a nursing instructor and left a legacy that those who knew her and beyond could relate to as a Native Daughter.
The third of eight children, Taliaferro received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, and I later attended the University of West Florida where she received her Master’s degree in 1979. It was in 1949 that she married ESN Richard (Dick) Taliaferro and enjoyed 60 years with him until his death in 2004. They traveled extensively during his military career while raising two children.
In 1965 Polly began teaching the LPN program at Pensacola State College, and in 1983 she was named Florida Nurse of the Year. During the 40 years she spent here Polly and her husband were members of First United Methodist Church and were active in a number of civic affairs, including assisting with delivering Means on Wheels and volunteering at Santa Rosa Medical Center.
“It’s a Wonderful Live” fits her years as a member of this community, and her military career serves as an icon of trust and commitment that each and every veteran embodies.
In her waning years Polly moved to San Antonio, Texas to live with her daughter Pam. But she will always be remembered here for her love of seafood, potato chips, playing bingo, reading mystery books, all sports on television, and African Violets. She leaves a legacy that any veteran would be proud of hold as their own.
Polly died on September 27, 2012, and she and her husband are laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery following full military honors.
It is such veterans and their personalities that Veterans Plaza in Milton is charged with honoring. And according to Ralph Nesenson, CEO of Veteran’s Memorial Plaza Foundation, the Plaza itself is priceless. What veteran can not look upon it with pride and admiration, feeling that it is there in his or honor!
Santa Rosa County Closures on Veterans' Day
In honor of Veterans Day, Nov. 11, all city and county offices will be closed on Monday, Nov. 12
Monday's trash schedule in Milton will be ran on Tuesday; Tuesday's route will be run on Wednesday; and Thursday and Friday's routes will be ran as scheduled.
The U.S. Postal Service will not deliver mail or open any mail services. The only mail to be delivered on Monday will be Express Mail (Holiday Premium).
Veterans Day Parade and Ceremonies
The Santa Rosa County Veterans' Day Parade will start at 9:30 a.m. Monday at Milton High School and will end at the Santa Rosa County Veterans Plaza on Willing St.
Parade Grand Marshals will be veterans Dustin Tuller and Daniel Palmer. Brig. Gen. Mike Ferguson will be the keynote speaker at the Santa Rosa County Veterans Plaza ceremonies, which will get underway at 11 a.m.
The day will end with a Veterans Day Picnic hosted by the Santa Rosa County 4-H just south of the Santa Rosa County Veterans Memorial Plaza.
In addition, the Santa Rosa County Veterans Memorial Foundation, a non- profit organization, will collect donations for the Vets to VA Clinics shuttle service. Vets to VA clinics provides free transportation on Tuesdays and Thursdays to the VA Clinic in Pensacola for Santa Rosa County veterans who do not have their own means of transportation.