There was no question Tony Luick, a 1965 graduate of St. Joseph’s Military Academy, now Thomas More Prep-Marian High School, would attend his 50th class reunion.
The reunion was last weekend in conjunction with TMP homecoming activities.
Luick, who is semi-retired and lives in Tucson, Ariz., has been back to several class reunions through the years. In fact, rather than wait 10 years for another reunion, the class decided at their 40th reunion to get together every year or so in different locations, Luick said.
“You will know the 50-year class in the parade,” Jeff Brull, TMP-Marian advancement director, said Friday morning.
Approximately 70 percent of the class returned for their 50th reunion.
In addition to renewing friendships, Luick spoke Friday to three different TMP classes — American history, psychology and sociology — about his work with American Veterans Quest for Peace.
“I love talking to high school students,” he said.
Luick, a psychologist and Vietnam veteran himself, leads reconciliation tours for veterans seeking “healing from the wounds of war.”
The trips take veterans and their families to locations where the trauma was experienced and helps them find emotional closure.
“The reality is, I think, every veteran who came to Vietnam has suffered from (post-traumatic stress disorder).”
Even Luick, who served in the Army from 1966 to 1969 as first lieutenant operations and combat adviser to the South Vietnamese Combat Battalion on the Cambodian border, suffered trauma on his first trip back to the area.
“When I returned to Vietnam the first time ... my hands were locked on the seat, and I was thinking, ‘Oh my God. It’s 1968 again.’ Yeah it came racing back.”
In response to a student’s question about his welcome when he returned from his tour of duty, Luick said people in the airport were “throwing things and calling us baby-killers. We couldn’t even wear our uniforms on the airplane back home.”
TMP history teacher Bob Leikam told the class he brought to the lecture he’s a 1975 graduate of the school.
When he was a student at the school, the war was paramount “on our minds. Vietnam was winding down. The draft was still in effect. We were, for lack of better term, scared that we were going to be one of the last groups to be drafted into military service. The one thing that no one wanted to be was the last American soldier killed in Vietnam,” Leikam said.