Washington D.C. December 9, 2007 - Col. Casimir I.
Lenard AUS (Ret.) died Friday, December 7, 2007, of a long illness. At exactly
the same moment, the Polish American Congress - the organization with
which he was closely associated for more than 30 years - was holding a
recognition ceremony during which Lenard was awarded with the first-ever
Polish American Congress Medal of Freedom.
"Poles around the world are in mourning over this
terrible loss of someone who served in the trenches fighting for freedom
around the world," said Frank Spula, president of the Polish American
"Cas and his late wife Myra, both of whom served as
directors of the Washington D.C. office of the Polish American Congress,
worked tirelessly on behalf of our organization for the betterment of
more than 10 million Americans of Polish heritage. We honor his memory
like we do for Kosciuszko, Pulaski and all those who have honored the
Polish motto 'For Your Freedom and Ours.'"
Cas Lenard was born on March 10, 1918 to a family of
Polish immigrants in Chicago. At the age of 10 he was enrolled in the
Jesuit Gimnazjum in Chyrow, Poland, where he completed the eight-year
course of study. Upon his return to the United States he attended
Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, where he received a
Bachelor of Science degree in Economic History.
In reaction to the September 1, 1939, Nazi invasion of
Poland he joined, as a private, the Chicago Black Horse Troop, 106th
Cavalry, Illinois National Guard. In 1941 he was commissioned 2nd
Lieutenant, Cavalry with duty at Fort Riley, Kansas. He requested and
was assigned to the 1st U.S. Infantry Division "The Big Red One"
scheduled to be the first U.S. Army unit to go overseas (on the H.M.S.
Queen Mary, August 2, 1942).
As a member of the 1st Reconnaissance Troop, Lenard
was engaged in overseas combat duty from 1942 to 1945. He participated
in Operation Torch with the 1st Infantry Division as part of The Center
Task Force amphibious landing on November 8, 1942 at Oran, North Africa;
in Operation Husky, one of the largest combined operations of World War
II the invasion of Sicily, on July 10, 1943 at Gela, Sicily; and, in
the D-Day amphibious landing of the 1st U.S. Infantry Division on June
6, 1944 at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France. He also served as press and
radio censor with the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary
Forces in London, Paris, Spa (Belgium), and Luxembourg City.
After his discharge from Army active duty in 1945, he
married Casimira (Myra) Lamot, and participated in his family restaurant
business, known as "Lenard's Little Poland" in Chicago and "Lenard's
Casino" Summer Resort in Beverly Shores, Indiana.
During the Korean War, he volunteered for active army
duty, from August 1951 to 1957, under special assignment with the
Headquarters Berlin Command and later at Headquarters Fifth U.S. Army in
In 1962, he was selected from more than 40 candidates
nationwide, for a five-year tour of active duty with the General Staff
at the Pentagon, where he became Chief of the Army Intelligence Reserve
Office. Starting in 1967 he served one year in Vietnam, as Commanding
Officer, Technical Intelligence Detachment, and later as director, U.S.
Element Combined Military Interrogation Center in Saigon (disseminating
studies and reports world-wide.) From September 1968 to June 30, 1970 he
was a military intelligence research analyst at the U.S. Army Institute
of Land Combat at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Col. Lenard retired after 30 years of distinguished
military service, for which he was awarded the Silver Star Medal with
Cluster, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze
Star Medal with "V" for Valor, the French Croix de Guerre with Palm,
seven overseas campaign ribbons (Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia,
Sicily, Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes-Alsace and Rhineland) and
numerous other citations, the last being the Normandy Medal of the
Jubilee of Liberty, presented by Virginia Congressman Thomas M. Davis
III on Capitol Hill on May 15, 2001.
Upon retirement from the military, he became the first
executive director of the Polish America Congress, Washington D.C.
Office, from July 1970 to 1974.
After leaving the Polish American Congress Washington
D.C. Office in 1974, he became Project Manager of the US Bicentennial
Ethnic Racial Council, which organized nationwide conferences and
coordinated local and national U.S. Bicentennial activities, providing
many opportunities for Polonia participation.
From 1991 to 2000, as a volunteer and team member he
worked with Myra on a large number of projects, such as:
The administration of grants of The National
Endowment for Democracy (NED), totaling several million dollars,
through the Polish American Congress Charitable Foundation (PACCF),
to support the budding Polish underground, Solidarity, and Citizens'
Committees with urgently needed technical resources and finances.
Playing a lead role with Myra in supporting
Poland's membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Reinvigorating national ethnic community leaders
into the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC) to work
harmoniously on common issues, precipitated by threats of Russian
moves at re-establishing its sphere of influence in Central and
Eastern Europe, most specifically US Foreign Assistance programs and
Forming, in the final days of the campaign, the
NATO Ratification Working Group, going beyond the ethnic
organizations to include nationwide veterans, religious, and union
groups to support the ratification in the US Senate of the accession
of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO.
Col. Lenard also served on the Board of Directors of
the American Red Cross, Baltimore Office, which is the seat of the
International Tracing Center for uniting families separated by war; as
well as membership as a board member of the Citizens Flag Alliance, a
coalition of more than 140 nationwide organizations including 13 Polish
American organizations, working for the passage of the Flag Protection
Amendment to the US Constitution. He was well-known for his advocacy of
close relations between Poles and Jews, the two groups that suffered the
most under German Nazi rule.
For his work with the Polish American Community, the
Polish American Congress, and dealing with improving Poland's position
in the world, Colonel Lenard and his wife Myra, either jointly or as
individuals, received, among others, the following awards:
Commander's Cross of The Order of Merit of the
Republic of Poland with Star, presented by Jerzy Kozminski, Poland's
Ambassador to the USA (individually, on February 25, 2000);
Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the
Republic of Poland, presented by Poland's Foreign Minister,
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski (individually, on May 3, 1995);
A Polish Cavalry saber with inscription "For Your
Freedom and Ours From The Grateful Nation of Poland," presented by
Poland's Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek during the NATO Summit in
Washington DC (jointly, in April 1999);
The Polish National Alliance's "Gold Cross Legion
of Honor" (awarded jointly in December, 1998) by Mr. Edward J.
Moskal, President of Polish National Alliance and the Polish
The Polish Apostolate "Pride of Polish American
Community Award, presented by Adam Cardinal Maida, Archbishop of
Detroit on August 29, 1999 (awarded jointly);
The Founders Award (presented individually on
November 22, 1992) by the PAC Washington Metropolitan Area Division;
The Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the
Republic of Poland by Lech Kaczynski, President of the Republic of
Poland, presented by Poland's Defense Minister Mr. Aleksander
Szczyglo on July 15, 2007. The Polish American Congress Medal of
Freedom (awarded individually) on December 7, 2007.
"Cas' loyalty and devotion were, outside of his
family, always first and foremost to the Polish American community here
in the United States," Spula added. "He was a soldier in every sense of
that word and his example of selfless dedication was inspiring for all
who had the privilege of working with him. This organization, like many
others, needs many Cas Lenards to succeed."
When he was awarded the Polish American Congress Medal
of Freedom, in a ceremony that due to his illness he could not attend,
Lenard issued the following greeting: "Of all of my associations, my
involvement with the Polish American Congress and time with the
Washington office are some of the most memorable and rewarding. I know
that my wonderful life partner, Myra, felt the same way. I accept this
honor on behalf of both of us."
Myra Lenard died on May 1, 2000. They are survived by
their three children: George, Antoinette and Elizabeth as well as their
grandson Jeffrey Lenard a member of the Washington D.C. Fire