His grandfathers’ service

Published 10:22 am Wednesday, December 7, 2016

I’ve never served in the military — I was built more like Steve Rogers before he got the Super Soldier Serum to become Captain America.

The thing is, I didn’t have good feelings about the military growing up in the 1970s and ’80s. Part of that was because of the way many Americans reacted to the Vietnam War. I think more of it had to do with the fact the military had taken my maternal grandfather, Jon Price Evans, away from me when I was only 3.

Jon died in 1968 while aboard a military transport plane that crashed — supposedly, but never proven, due to sabotage. My grandmother, Dorothy, was aboard and never got over his death. She spent much of the last 30 years of her life in a nursing home after suffering an aneurysm about five or six years later.

On my father’s side of the family, I knew my grandfather, Ira Cahn, had been in the Navy, but it wasn’t until I was in my 30s and in the newspaper business that I learned exactly what he did. I always thought, because of his culinary prowess at Passover and Thanksgiving, that he’d been the ship’s cook. Instead, he was a pharmacist’s mate, helping to patch up the wounded — on D-Day.

It was an amazing revelation that made me ask more questions about Jon (he was a fairly renowned Army medical officer) and upped my respect for veterans immeasurably.

To our veterans and active military here and everywhere, I thank you for your service.

Martin L. Cahn is the managing editor of The Charlotte Gazette. His email is martin.cahn@thecharlottegazette.com.