“There is a bond that connects all veterans”

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The De La Salle College Alumni Military Wall of Honor is unveiled on November 7.

Guest speaker Col. Paul Kucharek, who graduated in 1983, hugs master of ceremonies, substitute teacher and trainer Mike Jolly.

Photo by Deb Jacques

    Veterans who attended De La Salle gather for a group photo in front of the Military Wall of Honor.

Veterans who attended De La Salle gather for a group photo in front of the Military Wall of Honor.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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WARREN – Veterans Who Attended De La Salle College High School Will Be Known Forever For Their Service To The United States

On November 7, the school community gathered in the common area for the unveiling of the De La Salle College alumni military wall of honor. The wall is dedicated to every veteran who graduated from Catholic Boys’ High School when located in Detroit and at his current location in Warren.

“The goal is twofold. The first is to honor our alumni who have chosen this type of service. The second is to inspire our children to think about entering service, the Peace Corps or ministry, ”said Mike Jolly, DLS substitute teacher and coach. “There is a bond that connects all veterans. We thought it was important for our soldiers to have a place in school especially for them. It was a very enriching experience for everyone.

Jolly, a Vietnam veteran, remembers returning from serving in the military.

“Those of us who served in Vietnam were not welcome back home,” Jolly recalls. “It was an unpopular war.”

Several guest speakers shared stories during the dedication. Karen Poxon Beckwith spoke about her brother, Robert Poxon, a 1965 DLS graduate who gave his life for his country. Poxon was killed in Vietnam on June 2, 1969. For his services, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

According to the 1st Cavalry Division Association website, 1cda.org, Poxon was a US Army First Lieutenant, Troop B, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. According to the website, Poxon received the citation “for remarkable bravery and fearlessness in acting at the risk of his life beyond the call of duty.”

Poxon Beckwith of Shelby Township has fond memories of his older brother, who was 10 years older. There were six children in the family. One of the many proud moments is having American Legion Robert L. Poxon post # 326, located at 40250 Mound Road in Sterling Heights, named after the late veteran.

“After graduating from De La Salle in 1965, he wanted to be a priest and went to seminary for a year,” said Poxon Beckwith. “After a year, he changed his mind. When he got home he decided he was going to enlist.

While in Vietnam, “He wrote letters home to the family,” his sister said. “If there was something he didn’t want my mom or my kids to know, he would write my dad at work. He would ask, “Why won’t the United States let us win this war?” “

Poxon Beckwith was in sixth grade when his brother died. One sight that Poxon Beckwith has never forgotten is of the students of St. Juliana Catholic Church lining the sidewalk as the Poxon family marched to church for the young man’s funeral. In 1971, she, her parents, and siblings traveled to Washington, DC, to receive the Poxon Congressional Medal of Honor.

“For me, Bob will always be 22,” said Poxon Beckwith. “It used to be my biggest fear that Bob would be forgotten. I don’t have that fear anymore after meeting the other men and De La Salle who put up this wall.

She tells her son and daughter, now adults, all about their uncle Bobby.

“I don’t remember Bob the Brother as much as I do Bob the Soldier,” said Poxon Beckwith. “Bob was shy and calm but fiercely loyal to his friends. He would stand up for the people.

Poxon Beckwith shares her brother’s legacy wherever she can. In 2012, during a visit to Fort Hood near Killeen, Texas, she brought her Congressional Medal of Honor.

“They put it on the table of the missing,” she recalls. “A lot of today’s soldiers went to see him. “

The unveiling hosted keynote speaker and 1983 DLS graduate Col. Paul Kucharek. The retired U.S. Air Force commander, who teaches in Idaho, traveled from his home in Wyoming to participate.

“I am truly touched and honored to be here for this inauguration ceremony for the Military Wall of Honor,” Kucharek said. “As we look at this wall today, in the days to come, in the years to come, in the decades to come, I hope it will be a reminder to all of us of those elders… who served. Some who, as Mike Jolly pointed out very well, have paid a heavy price.

“But all of these individuals gave. They were ready to sacrifice everything, including their own lives if necessary, to be able to defend the freedom and the ideals embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, ”Kucharek said.

A few months ago, Kucharek went on a DLS tour with his father and Jolly, an adventure that took Kucharek “back a few years”. The retired colonel was part of the first graduating class of the Warren School after moving from Detroit.

“As we were walking around the school… I looked at the photos on the walls and what I saw when I saw those photos, fantastic memories,” Kucharek said. “I had incredible memories going to this school, coming out of this school. We walked through those school hallways, we had hopes, we had dreams. I started to think about military memorials.

“I hope (with) this memorial that we will see more than names and numbers. We will look through the names and we will see people, real people, alumni, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, nephews, friends. Each veteran whose name will appear on this memorial has been shaped by the interactions they have had at this school. This school has always been more building-oriented, ”said Kucharek.

To see the entire ceremony, visit the De La Salle Collegiate YouTube page.

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