(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]



                        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.