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POSTED ON 9.15.2018
POSTED BY: Janice Current

An American Hero

Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. Thank you for stepping up and answering your country's call. Rest easy knowing you will never be forgotten.
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POSTED ON 11.29.2015
POSTED BY: Curt Carter [email protected]

Remembering An American Hero

Dear SP4 Kenneth Edward Leonard, sir

As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.

May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.

With respect, Sir

Curt Carter
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POSTED ON 11.26.2011

Never Forgotten

Rest in peace with the warriors.
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POSTED ON 6.2.2011
POSTED BY: Robert Sage

We Remember

Kenneth is buried at Glenwood Memorial Gardens, Broomall, Delaware County,PA. BSM ARCOM PH
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POSTED ON 10.1.2009
POSTED BY: Arnold M. Huskins

Delaware County Times article

Friends, family remember man who died in Vietnam
by Tim Logue
The Delware County Times
27 September 2009

MARPLE — Though more than 40 years removed from their lives, family, friends and fellow soldiers of Ken Leonard had no problem recalling his sense of humor, adventure and duty.

The 20-year-old Haverford High graduate was killed by sniper fire Sept. 15, 1969 while serving with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in Vietnam.

Saturday afternoon, a group of 45 friends and family members gathered in front of his grave at Glenwood Memorial Gardens and shared their memories of Leonard, a gifted athlete who was drafted into the Army 15 months after graduating from Haverford High School in 1967.

“I am overwhelmed by your presence,” said event organizer Hank Snyder, a childhood friend who grew up next door to the Leonards in the 500 block of Country Club Lane in the Manoa section of Havertown. “It says a lot about this one life, this one friendship, and the impact that this one life made on all of us.”

A year older than Leonard, Snyder reminisced about a childhood full of sledding, fort building, games and the occasional beverage with his good friend.

“I would like to thank the owners of Llanerch (Country Club) for unknowingly providing us with a perfect playground,” he said.

Twice an all-state lacrosse player in high school, Leonard did not have the grades to make it to Penn State, where he had been heavily recruited, and wound up working at General Electric with his father after losing interest in prep school.

“We decided we were going to go (into the service) together,” said Leonard’s older brother, Richard, who recalled their graduation day at Ft. Bragg and his brother’s orders to report to Ft. Polk, La., for infantry training.

“On that fateful day in November 1968, he went one way and I’ve been regretful about that because he was my kid brother,” said Richard, who was sent to Maryland and remained stateside during the war.

Leonard’s other big brother, Donald, and another childhood friend from Country Club Lane, Gil Godwin, were also in attendance.

Regina Finisdore Aiken drew laughter while explaining how she would regularly walk her dog to the Manoa Pharmacy to get a glimpse of Leonard, who worked as a delivery boy.

“I would have been considered a stalker by today’s standards,” said Aiken, who was joined at the service by her sister, Laurene Pinto. “I literally stalked the boy until he asked me out … I would pretend to buy things just to get a look at him.”

Before his Vietnam tour began on St. Patrick’s Day 1969, Leonard proposed.

“I still have everything he gave me and I share all these things with my family now and they have all come to know him as I did,” she said.

While wearing a camouflage jacket he sent her from Vietnam, Pinto said she liked Leonard just about as much as her sister.

“I was probably in love with him, too,” she said. “He was my older sister’s boyfriend. … I would tear down the steps ahead of her so I could open the door first.”

Former Haverford lacrosse coach and teacher Bob Shapley recounted his surprise when Leonard showed up in his “Problems of Democracy” course one September after his star player came to the conclusion his coach would never flunk him.

“He would sit there every day with a grin on his face,” Shapley said. “He knew he had me.”

Leonard also convinced Shapley to help him steal a lacrosse goal from a field in Bryn Mawr. “Kenny, I don’t steal anything,” Shapley told Leonard.

Nevertheless, Shapley soon found himself driving down Eagle Road with the goal stuffed in the back of his 1965 convertible Ford Fairlane.

“We didn’t get locked up,” he said after describing their run-in with police while trying to return the goal a few days later. “It was close.”

Lacrosse teammate and friend John Barlow said Leonard might have doubled the 42 goals he scored his senior year with modern equipment.

“He was way ahead of his time,” he said. “He could be the best lacrosse player to ever play at Haverford.”

Army buddies Don Lopez and George Burns were among the many who came from out of state to pay their respects to Leonard.

Although the overwhelming majority of soldiers training at Ft. Polk were finding their way to Vietnam, Lopez said Leonard was confident he would not have to go.

“He and his fiancée were praying every day and he felt their prayers would be answered,” said Lopez, who started a Web site to honor his friend several years ago.

As it turned out, Leonard wound up in Vietnam and Lopez was shipped off to Korea.

“I feel his prayers were answered for me,” Lopez said.

Burns survived the attack that killed Leonard on the outskirts of Bien Hoa, a city located just north of Saigon.

“The jungle was so dense, there was a triple canopy up so you couldn’t see the sun and you couldn’t see side to side,” Burns said. “We were out (on patrol) and suddenly all hell broke loose — they sprang an ambush on us.”

Burns said enemy snipers were shooting at the ankles of his platoon and he thinks Leonard somehow fell down and into the line of fire.

Leonard was still alive when Burns and a few other men helped load him and another wounded soldier onto a helicopter.

“I was probably one of the last people to see him alive,” he said. “It was clear he was badly hurt but there was no blood. It looked like he was sleeping.”

When Leonard’s body was flown back to the States, his parents, Reuben and Elizabeth, called on Snyder, who had been wounded four months prior in Vietnam.

“They asked me to escort the body back from Delaware,” said Snyder, who got the idea for a memorial service while reflecting on the 40th anniversary of his own injuries earlier this year.

With another generation at war and young soldiers and Marines dying in Afghanistan and Iraq, Snyder said memories of his childhood friend are never far away.

“I feel it personally when I see what’s happening today,” he said. “The cause really becomes minute when husbands and sons are losing their lives.”

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