“Unlike the news written in the past five years by the media – most of whom were not present at the funeral of my grandson – Lance Cpl. Matt Snyder – we would like to tell the way it really was that day, March 10, 2006.
As we approached St. John’s Catholic Church in Westminster, a line of Patriot Guard Riders were standing shoulder to shoulder alongside the church, each holding a large American flag.
It was a bright, clear day in March and the flags were flying almost straight out, so that it looked like one continuous banner stretching forever.
The colors of the flags and the sky overhead were as vibrant as the dignity these riders were showing for my grandson, whom they had never met.
Later, I learned that this group was a shield to protect the funeral-goers from a protest group (none of which we ever saw or heard).
As we waited for Matt to be brought into the church, we looked at his Marine Honor Guard.
They stood rigid at attention, impeccable in their uniforms, young, confident, so similar to our Matt.
When it was time, they moved in silent step, ever so carefully, and with the utmost reverence they carried Matt into St. John’s for Mass.
Matt’s funeral was of pride and respect. As the procession left the church, passing by the Patriot Guard, we proceeded down Route 140 escorted by local authorities and young school children stood with their hands placed across their loving hearts.
The firefighters stood in front of their station building at attention with nothing but respect for this young hero; workers came out of their buildings saluting and holding flags.
Matt’s body arrived at Garrison Forest National Cemetery with dignity and respect and full military honors were accorded this young Marine.
This is the way it was, and I’m sure the way Matt would have wanted it.
Too bad national attention has been given to Westboro Baptist Church due to lawsuits.”
John and Cay Francis are Matthew Snyder’s maternal grandparents.