“It was exciting. You can’t believe how exciting it was,” is how Vernon Kahl described his experience as the Honorary Flag Raiser at the June 26 Minnesota Twins game against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field.
According to Brad Dick, marketing intern for the Minnesota Twins Baseball Club, “We have veterans do the American flag-raising at every Twins home game. This has been the tradition since we moved to Target Field in 2010.”
About a year ago, Kahl’s grandson, Aaron Kahl, who lives and coaches in the Minneapolis area, submitted his name as a veteran for the flag-raising honor. However, Kahl didn’t find out he was to do the honors until about a month or so ahead of time. Kahl served his country overseas during World War II.
The fact that his children and other family members were able to attend and witness the flag raising, added a special touch to the event.
“It was very emotional for us, when the flag was raised,” said a family member.
Kahl was transported in a wheelchair throughout the day and provided VIP treatment.
“The attendant made sure I was out of the sun and was always asking if I needed anything,” said Kahl. “People would come up and shake my hand and thank me for my service. It was wonderful.”
The honor also earned him a prime location along the first base line to watch the game. As a result, when a Twins player hit a foul ball down the first base line, the official major league baseball was scooped up and presented to Kahl, who said, “Everybody hollered and cheered, and I raised the ball in the air and hollered, too.”
Kahl’s love of baseball goes back decades to his years at Inwood High School. He was on the baseball team his sophomore, junior and senior years.
“When I was a freshman, we still played kittenball. I lettered my first year and when people asked me what KB stood for, instead of saying kitten ball, I always told them it stood for Kahl Boys,” chuckled Kahl.
Kahl even played some baseball while he was overseas. While stationed in the South Pacific, servicemen cleared a bunch of trees and when time allowed, they would play a game of baseball in that clearing.
Ninety-two-year-old Kahl said he has been a Minnesota Twins fan forever. “I attended the opening game and the closing game, the first and the last games the Twins played in the Dome.”
Kahl follows the Twins via their televised games, but the game of June 26, 2012, is one he’ll always remember and consider very special. He was disappointed the Twins lost the game, but as he said, “Everything else was super!”