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Veterans Reunite After 50 Years

December 7, 2013
By REBECCA OLSAVSKY - Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Two Army veterans reunited for the first time in 50 years Friday.

Anthony M. Liscio Jr., and Harald Wiesner last saw each other in 1963 when they were at the Army Patton Barracks in Heidelberg, Germany. According to Wiesner, Heidelberg was the U.S. Army headquarters in Europe.

"It was the center for U.S. Army efforts in the Cold War," Wiesner said.

Article Photos

Photo by Rebecca Olsavsky
Army veterans Harald Wiesner, left, and Anthony M. Liscio Jr., reunite after 50 years.

While there, Wiesner, originally from Germany, was the conductor of the first United States Army Europe men's choir.

Liscio, a baritone in the choir during his spare time, served his main duty by operating a transceiver at a data processing center for the USAREUR HQ Command.

He also served a short time in West Berlin.

After Wiesner had taken over the Patton Barracks chorus, eventually renamed the USAREUR chorus, the group traveled to various towns, mostly in southern Germany, to perform concerts.

"It gave us an opportunity to communicate with Germans," Liscio said. "They were friendly people."

Both veterans described music as an international language.

"We both shared an appreciation of interacting with other cultures," Wiesner said.

Referencing its significance, Wiesner believed music allowed Germans and Americans to "connect on a basic human level." Although the USAREUR chorus performed most concerts alone, there were some situations in which German orchestras or choirs joined the Americans.

Liscio enjoyed music at a young age. Wiesner referred to his friend's tonal memory as a "special natural gift." Liscio cannot read music, but he can sing it back if it is played on an instrument such as a piano.

"Everything I sang was memorized," Liscio said.

He believes his lifelong interest in music, combined with his eventual work in financial services, offered a nice balance.

Leaving Germany, Wiesner came to Wheeling to work as a music professor at West Liberty University. Among other work, he was also the founding director of the Ohio Valley Chorale.

When Liscio, a resident of Sharon, Pa., received an email five years ago from an organization regarding another chorus that, without knowing of the preceding group, used the same name as the USAREUR chorus, he rediscovered old newspapers to clarify information and show proof of the latter chorus' existence. Reliving his choir days reminded Liscio of Wiesner.

He searched online for his friend's contact information.

After 45 years without communication, Wiesner and Liscio began reconnecting. Meeting at Oglebay with their wives marked the veterans' first sight of each other in half a century.

"We were near each other for decades and didn't realize it," Wiesner said.

"It's great to be back with him," Liscio said.

 
 

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