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May 24, 2024

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Lt. Col. Matt Urban To Be Honored
At Arlington National Cemetery

Lt._Col._Matt_Louis_UrbanOrganizing committee requests community support for August event

Although Matt Urban (1919–1995), the most highly decorated soldier in US military history, was of Polish descent, he was a truly American hero whose courage and love of America reflects the noblest ideas of this country.

Urban’s story of extraordinary leadership and courage in World War II only emerged in 1980, when President Jimmy Carter presented then-Lieutenant Colonel Urban with the Medal of Honor, America’s highest award for combat valor. The President called him “the greatest soldier in American history.” 2014 marks 70 years since Urban, as a young infantry officer, earned the Medal of Honor in France fighting against the Nazis.

The Matt Urban Memorial Committee will honor Urban’s memory with a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery (Section 7A) at 9:00 AM, Saturday, August 23, 2014. Dignitaries, military officers and representatives of the Belgian, British, Canadian, French and Polish embassies have been invited to participate. Keynote speaker will be Major General Jeffrey S. Buchanan (Commander General, Joint Force Headquarters – National Capital Region). The committee has also invited Matt Urban’s widow, Mrs. Jennie Urban, as the guest of honor. A reception in Washington, D.C. will follow the ceremony at the cemetery.

The MUMC is a Michigan organization formed at the initiative of Major General Marvin Back, U.S. Army, Retired, and Colonel Chester Szczotka, U.S. Army, Retired. Committee volunteers represent leading Polonian organizations, including the American Council for Polish Culture; the Central Citizens Committee; the Polish American Congress, Michigan Division; the Polish Mission; the Polish National Alliance; the Polish Weekly; the Polish Times; and the Piast Institute, which is also providing meeting facilities and various support services. The Polish embassy and its consular offices are among the organizations that have pledged to support the MUMC’s initiative.

The committee is determined to keep expenses as low as possible, but certain costs will be incurred, including travel and lodging for Mrs. Urban if she is able to participate. Total expenses are estimated at $5,000—$10,000. The MUMC is asking veterans’ and community organizations and businesses for financial support. Contributions are tax-deductible and will be recognized in the official program distributed at the event. Any funds remaining after the program’s costs have been covered will be used to support the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), which trains college students to be military officers. Matt Urban was an ROTC cadet at Cornell University.

Donation checks should be made out to Matt Urban Memorial Committee and mailed to: MUMC, 11633 Joseph Campau Ave., Hamtramck, MI 48212.

The MUMC’s website provides information about Matt Urban and makes it easy to join a campaign to add Urban’s gravesite to the “List of Notables,” which is distributed to visitors at the Arlington National Cemetery. The website is:

For further information, contact: Colonel (ret) Chester Szczotka (313-278-3895) or Andrew Ladak (586- 979-9389).