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Michael Kohn visits grandfather's grave at Arlington National Cemetery

April 21, 2014|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels reliever Michael Kohn delivers a pitch during an exhibition game against the Texas Rangers in March.
Angels reliever Michael Kohn delivers a pitch during an exhibition game… (Morry Gash / Associated…)

WASHINGTON — It was an emotional visit to Arlington National Cemetery Monday for Michael Kohn, and not just because the Angels reliever saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the eternal flame at John F. Kennedy’s grave and the thousands of headstones of deceased veterans dating back to the Civil War.

In Section 59 of the cemetery is the grave site of the pitcher’s grandfather, Rudy Kohn, a three-star Navy admiral who served in Vietnam and rose to become the head of the North Pacific Fleet. Rudy died of cancer at age 71 in 2010, and Monday marked the first time Kohn had seen his grave.

“His funeral was right when I got called up to the big leagues for the first time,” Kohn said. “My grandmother told me to stay in Southern California, so I did not get to see the burial.”

Kohn, who entered Monday's game against the Washington Nationals with a 1-0 record and 1.86 earned-run average in a team-high 10 appearances, said he was about 7 years old when his grandfather moved back to South Carolina, and the two were very close.

“It was special to see his grave — very emotional, but very cool to see,” said Kohn, who was accompanied by Tim Mead, the Angels’ vice president of communications. “He was an inspiration to me. He taught me everything I know today.”

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