May 24, 2001 - Issue: Vol. 147, No. 73 — Daily Edition107th Congress (2001 - 2002) - 1st Session
HONORING AMERICA'S MOST DECORATED COMBAT VETERAN, LT. COL. MATT URBAN
(Extensions of Remarks - May 24, 2001)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E935] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] HONORING AMERICA'S MOST DECORATED COMBAT VETERAN, LT. COL. MATT URBAN ______ HON. THOMAS M. REYNOLDS of new york in the house of representatives Thursday, May 24, 2001 Mr. REYNOLDS. Mr. Speaker, as our entire nation pauses to honor its fallen heroes, our Memorial Day Observance has long held a special significance in my Congressional district. That's because, in 1865, the village of Waterloo, New York, became the first community in America to set aside a day of remembrance for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country, and has since been officially recognized as the birthplace of our modern Memorial Day holiday. Even with this proud history, this year's Memorial Day will have an even greater significance in our area of the country. That's because on Thursday, May 31, 2001, we will pay special tribute to the most decorated combat veteran in American history, Lt. Col. Matt Urban. When President Jimmy Carter presented Lt. Col. Urban with the Congressional Medal of Honor, 35 years after his heroic feats in World War II, the President described him as ``The Greatest Soldier in American history.'' Born in August of 1919 in Buffalo, New York, Matt Urban received 29 awards and decorations, including seven purple hearts, and the Silver and Bronze Stars. Matt Urban's bravery and valor earned him virtually every combat medal, as well as the nickname ``the Gray Ghost,'' from the German army. While there are many stories of Matt Urban's feats, his heroism upon the D-Day Invasion is typical of the battlefield leadership he exhibited during his time with the 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. Then-Lieutenant Urban, despite a broken leg suffered during his landing on Omaha Beach, led an attack on German positions from the top of a tank, which not only saved his men trapped on the beach, but also drove the enemy off their positions and off the beach. Lt. Col. Matt Urban, an American hero, passed away on March 20, 1995, as a result of complications from a collapsed lung brought on by one of his seven war wounds. He was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, a hero's honor, well-deserved. Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, May 31, 2001, the man once dubbed ``The Hero We Nearly Forgot'' will be remembered by his hometown of Buffalo, New York, when the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Monument Fund presents a day of activities to honor and remember his bravery, valor and service; and I ask that this Congress, while pausing in memory of all those who have fallen in defense of freedom and liberty, join me in a special salute to our nation's most decorated combat veteran, Lt. Col. Matt Urban. ____________________