Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ken Taylor Passes

I was both shocked and saddened when I heard that former Ambassador Ken Taylor passed away the other day in New York City.  You'll remember that Ken was the Canadian Ambassador to Iran when the Country was taken over by religious extremists.

The terrorists took over the American Embassy and held hostage over 200 Americans.  Six embassy staff members escaped capture and sought refuge in the Canadian Embassy.   Ken and his staff housed the six Americans and with the help of the CIA managed a plan to get them out of Iran safely.

The plan worked!  The six Americans escaped Iran, safely disguised as Canadians.   Ken was awarded the American Congressional Gold Medal for his efforts.  A highly fictitious account of that escape was the plot of the movie Argo.

Ken was an alumnus of mine.  We both attended Crescent Heights High School in Calgary.  Ken graduated a little over a decade ahead of me.  We knew of Ken Taylor when I was in high school, and he came to speak to us once.  I was always impressed with his ease of conversation, his sense of humor and his genuine interest in those around him.

He spoke to us again last spring at Crescent's hundredth anniversary.  He spoke of his years growing up in Calgary and attending Crescent.  He said a few things which I have used when talking to young people.  Ken was indeed one of my personal heroes.

Rest in peace Ken.  You are one Canadian who did make a difference in the world!

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