LYNN — A Vietnam War marine from Lynn who was killed in action is finally coming home, in a sense.
Kevin A. Cahill Square is being moved from its current location at the intersection of Mazza Road and Lynnfield Street to the intersection of Boston and Myrtle streets.
“He’s a West Lynn kid. He’s going back to West Lynn,” said Jane Cahill, who is married to Cahill’s brother.
Cahill, a lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, was killed on Oct. 12, 1967 at Quang Tri, near the DMZ in Vietnam, when he was 19 years old.
His name is etched on the Lynn Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., along with 57,000 other men and women “who made the ultimate sacrifice” in the war.
The move, which involves a road sign, has been approved by the City Council at the request of the Cahill family. A formal dedication of the new location is expected next month.
Whenever a Lynn soldier is killed or dies in active duty, the family is entitled to a veterans memorial dedicated square in the city. A past policy was that the square’s location would be based on the home of record listed on the soldier’s military paperwork, according to Michael Sweeney, Lynn veterans services director.
The address used at the time was near where his parents lived, but Cahill only spent a couple of years there before joining the Marines and spent most of his time growing up in West Lynn, Sweeney said.
“In talking with the family, it seemed like a much more appropriate location for it, given that he hung out there,” Sweeney said. “It’s a much more meaningful location for the family.”
Thomas Cahill, Kevin’s brother and Jane’s husband, said he likes the new location. The family used to drink raspberry lime rickeys at the drugstore right around the corner there.
The new location has a lot of sentimental value for the family, as Thomas said his aunt was a nun and taught at Sacred Heart School right down the street.
“I’m just grateful to the city for moving it to a more appropriate location,” said state Rep. Daniel Cahill (D-Lynn), the nephew of Kevin and son of Thomas and Jane.
City Councilor-at-Large Buzzy Barton has known the family for years and was pivotal in getting the resolution to move the square before the City Council, according to Sweeney.
“It wasn’t easy but we got it done,” Barton said. “(It’s) well deserved. He made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Cahill, considered by his brothers to be a “Marine’s Marine,” was killed during Operation Medina, some of the heaviest and hardest fighting of the war. Casualties were high on both sides during the “search and destroy” mission against the North Vietnamese.
Cahill and his fellow marines of Charlie Company were chronicled in the book, “Lions of Medina,” with an Amazon book description reading that the men would find “hell on earth under the jungle canopy.”
Ambushed, surrounded, outnumbered, outgunned and quickly running low on ammunition, the Marines of Operation Medina fought toe-to-toe with a ferocious, determined opponent, reads the description.
“The word hero is used far too often these days,” Sweeney said. “You look at the action of Lance Cpl. Cahill and there’s no better word to describe him. Everything we can do to help the family put the square in a more meaningful location is something we’re proud to be a part of.”