Glen Cove native shares story of becoming one of the first women to join Marines
A Glen Cove native is the Nassau County Poet Laureate and one of the first women to join the Marines.
It's been 70 years since U.S. Marine Sgt. Evelyn Kandel joined the service and still she has a hard time wrapping her head around how truly groundbreaking that decision was.
In 1951, Kandel graduated high school but couldn't afford art school. Her aunt chimed in with a suggestion.
"'Do you know what I would do if I were young? I would join the service and see the world.' I mean I was dumb struck. Whoever thought of such a thing?" said Kandel.
She then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.
Evelyn was stationed in Washington where the Marines soon had her modeling for a promotional campaign.
She was featured on a poster that was displayed in Times Square and she's also on a postage stamp celebrating women in the armed services that debuted in 1952.
Eventually Kandel was assigned to work alongside a female lieutenant in San Francisco. They traveled to colleges on the West Coast recruiting young women for officer training.
"I found young college men to be very inappropriate. With lots of, you know, not nice remarks to us. And that was not pleasant. But the experience of being with this woman was a positive one. It certainly brightened my view of the world," she said.
After the Marines, Kandel graduated from Columbia University on the GI bill. She married and had a family and is now an artist and a teacher.
She has recently connected with many other women who are also veterans.
In 2019, Kandel was one of two women on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. The trips are organized by a not-for-profit organization whose goal is to take veterans to visit the memorials in the nation's capital.