Tag: Memorial Day

Leonard Adreon, BSBA ’50, is a Korean War veteran, a corpsman who chronicled his experiences in a recently released memoir, Hilltop Doc: A Marine Corpsman Fighting Through the Mud and Blood of the Korean War. The memoir marked the first time in 60 years he had confronted and told the stories of the gruesome experiences he faced in war.

He recently returned to campus for a public conversation about his book, moderated by Olin Dean Mark Taylor.

“I didn’t say a word to anybody,” Adreon told the St. Louis Jewish Light. “A lot of us decided that the smartest thing to do was to go on with our lives and put it behind us. What we experienced and endured was horrendous. It was better forgotten.”

After the war, Adreon returned to St. Louis and spent 36 years as the executive vice president of The Siteman Organization. a real estate management and development company. He was an active advocate for the building and real estate industry throughout his career, serving in advocacy roles around the world and in Washington, DC.

Adreon has also been a leader at a variety of charities focused on child welfare and volunteers as a facilitator for writing classes in Washington University’s Lifelong Learning Institute.

He offered this poem to Dean Taylor in late April as a tribute to fallen US soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines.

Remember Forever

I am alone
among the silent stones
It’s early morning
The sun creeps through
sparsely scattered clouds
chases the night away
A cool gentle breeze
tingles my skin

Row after row
marble stones
on a carpet of green
Each curved at the top
standing proud over the grave
a small religious symbol
above the etched name of one who served
and the dates of a shortened shattered life

I’m here to visit my son
resting quietly with other soldiers
Today is his 40th birthday
If he could talk to me
what would he say
What is the message I should carry home

I sit on the small bench
close my eyes and listen

Dad, you’re here, that’s what counts
When I went away I knew the score
Danger lurked with every step
Most guys made it and came home
Some of us ran out of luck

I tried to do my best
for you and Mom
for Jamie and Helen
I longed to hear your voice
Feel the warm hug of your love

try to remember me Dad
and all who lie beside me
Remember me forever
Remember them forever

On May 12, the Wash U Military Care Package group mailed 11 boxes, weighing 206 lbs. to American troops. For the first time since 2004, some of the packages went to Africa. Hugh Tyschen, PMBA’11, has deployed several times including three tours while earning his degree at Olin.  Hugh sent this letter of thanks this month for the packages his group received during his last tour in Afghanistan.

“During my time here, our Afghan unit has performed admirably in daily combat. We were pleasantly surprised at their professionalism and determination. The Afghans did not shy away from an attack. I believe that with a small advisor presence at higher headquarters, they can become completely independent. Heroism on the battlefield among Afghans is common. The ability to solve logistical conundrums is not. Unfortunately, our unit sustained a high number of casualties. However, their resolve is unwavering and they will continue to battle the Taliban for the future of AFG.

“My advisor team was extremely lucky, our team had no members killed in action. Two Marines were wounded and received Purple Heart Medals during our tour of duty. LCpl Edward was knocked unconscious by an improvised explosive device, and Sgt Scaggs was shot in the buttocks by a sniper. Both recovered fully, and after the incident, Sgt Scaggs received a new call sign: “Gump.” I wish I could say we did not have any insider attacks, but that is an inherent threat that comes with the advising mission.

hugh tychsen

Hugh pictured in the 2011 Olin Business Magazine.

“I am proud to have served with such a fine team of Marines and British soldiers. I could not have handpicked a better group of patriots.

“Things I will miss about Afghanistan: my Afghan friends, the Afghan food, and the beautiful mountains.

“Things I will not miss about Afghanistan: random explosions throughout the day and night. And rats, won’t miss them.

“My interpreter, Najib, has completed his final visa interview. I hope he receives his visa in a timely manner (not likely) which he fully deserves after serving three continuous years in combat against the Taliban, side-by-side with US Marines.
“Thank you all for your continued support and prayers during this adventure. Our mission has come to an end. – Hugh”

“Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades”  For more on Memorial Day history and traditions, visit the History website.