|Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder
United States Marine
KIA 03 March 2006, Iraq
This Memorial Page Established by-SFC Rod Brewer
In Honor Of Lance Corporal Matthew A. Snyder
Lance Corporal Matthew A. Snyder, 20, of Finksburg,
Maryland. Snyder died March 3, 2006 from a non-combat related vehicle
accident in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to CSSG-1, 1st Marine
Logistics Group, Ist MEF. My condolences to his family and friends. God
Bless... Christmas in Arlington... Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.
Know the line has held, your job is done. Rest easy, sleep well. Others
have taken up where you fell, the line has held. Peace, peace, and
farewell..... Matthew, You Have Not Been Forgotten.... Hooah!!!! Semper Fi
January 12, 2011
You may access the link above for article and photos which tell the story of Matt, below:
Remembering the real Matthew Snyder
By George Matysek
Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder
It’s a sad reality that Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder has become linked to the Westboro
The 20-year-old Marine was killed nearly five years ago when his Humvee overturned in Iraq.
During his funeral, Westboro protesters held anti-gay and anti-Catholic signs outside St.
John in Westminster – inexplicably insisting that Snyder’s death was part of God’s
vengeance on America for its tolerance of homosexuality.
Snyder was Catholic, but not gay.
Albert Snyder, Matthew Snyder’s father, sued the Rev. Fred W. Phelps and members of his
Westboro congregation, seeking financial compensation for emotional distress, defamation
and other injuries. The case has made it all the way to the Supreme Court and is expected to
be decided this year.
Working on a report in last week’s Catholic Review about the heartwrending story, I could
clearly hear Jane Perkins’ passion as Matthew Snyder’s maternal aunt told me how difficult
it has been that people think of her beloved nephew only in connection with the ugliness of
Westboro. They don’t know about what a great human being he was, she said.
I invited Perkins to write a reflection on the real Matthew Snyder. She graciously agreed, and
I’m honored to share it with you here.
Matt is my Godchild. This is an important relationship, one which I treasure still, and in an
instant can be brought to the moment I was asked to be Godmother to Matt.
I love the photo of Matt, with his bald little head, being held in my arms that Christening Day.
Living in another state, I was not blessed to share as much time with Matt and his sisters as
my siblings were, but we did pretty well, nevertheless. Julie and the children would come to
visit overnight and my family would do the same with her. And of course, our family is very
close, so there are always parties, graduations and sacraments to celebrate which brought
all of the families and cousins together for fun and laughter.
Through the years, my thoughts of Matt run like a picture movie reel. Seeing him for the first
time, holding him at the Baptismal font, watching him waddle over to my car when I gave him
his first birthday gift – a giraffe clothes tree that each of the nieces and nephews were given
on their first birthday. I see him with red painted feet at 18 months, in his kitchen, walking
over and over again across white paper, in order for me to be able to make gifts for friends of
mine. I see him in his little red shorts and bow tie, twisting and dancing at my wedding (he
was 3). I didn’t get to see him play his sports when he was little, but my albums have his
team photos, swinging a bat, holding a soccer ball. I think of the talents he possessed: black
ink sketch drawings, pottery figures, his love for anything baseball amidst arrowheads and
I see him in his bathing suit running around at his 8th birthday as we celebrate summer, and
Matt. I see him in videos talking to the camera and telling the world all there is to know. I see
a little 10-year-old boy driving 3 hours to his baby cousin’s Baptism. Matt arrives and
presents a hand-created posterboard that had drawings of each of the important items that
are a part of the Baptism ceremony—the oil, the white cloth, the candle…each with its
meaning special for 1-month old Catie Jane. He’s older, and chooses St. Sebastian as his
Confirmation saint—Matt was unique in his thoughts and in his actions.
He comes into my backdoor and says “Hi, Aunt Jane, I was hoping you’d have barbecue!” I
hear him laughing at the bonfire in the back woods. I see him dunking his cousins in the
pool. I hear him laughing and playing games with the ‘kids.”
In our family, Matt is the oldest male cousin, so he is a role model, and he did it well.
Although from start to finish, the cousins were ‘13 stairsteps’ little more than a year apart
from each other, the oldest were never too old, or too cool or too busy to take time and have
FUN with the younger ones. They rolled down hills, stared at clouds, rode wagons, took
walks, played games, hiked a football, roasted marshmallows, told ghost stories, trekked
through the woods and played football on Thanksgiving. They went fishing, body surfing,
told jokes and went to the Baltimore zoo together. I see Matt sitting on the curb, as the July
4th parade marches by. I see Matt living life to the fullest, always smiling. I see Matt laughing
so hard, he could be crying.
I hear Matt on the phone telling me he joined the Marines. I say, “Matt, I know you wanted to
surprise me, but I can’t say I am surprised. I’m proud of you. When do you leave?” Matt was
excited, ready and growing up. He was not 18. That fall, before he left, he came to Lancaster
and we met in the parking lot of Dutch Wonderland—we both knew where it was, because
when Matt was little, our families would meet there for the day and have fun together. We
drove to Good & Plenty for a family style lunch. I told everyone at the table, this is my
nephew and he is leaving for boot camp. Matt was always humble, and quietly thanked the
strangers for their good wishes. Later I thought, maybe we should have gone somewhere
less crowded, that we could have spent more alone time.
Matt loved everything about his Marine life—there were struggles, of course, but he was so
proud of his accomplishments, such as when he made ‘marksman.’ He was supposed to be
deployed much earlier than he did, but playing soccer, he broke his leg in two areas and had
When he flew back from 29 Palms, I was in Baltimore, so I wanted to go with my sister to
pick him up. Here was this young man, whom I had not seen too often since he returned
from boot camp (very lean from the rigors) and now, he is hobbling on crutches and still
grabbed his duffel bag and carried it along. He was the Marine we knew he would be—
strong, confident and still, humble.
I see Matt carrying the birthday cake, in his fatigues, for my grandmother—his great
grandmother who is 98. I see him with his new camera that he is taking with him to Iraq. He
is so excited. He is like a kid in a candy store. He has fun acting silly and taking pictures with
his cousins. Through the years I always ask him, what do you think you want to do? He has
dreams—maybe re-enlisting, maybe going to Australia to be a photographer, maybe
something with cars, maybe…..
Matt was a friend to everyone—to this day, we hear stories from strangers to us, but friends
to Matt, who tell the story of a good friend who was there when needed the most. And that is
how Matt was a child—he was one of the smallest kids, but not afraid to stand up for the
underdog. And that is how Matt ended up in the humvee—he went overseas in a different
MOS, but there was a need in the security convoy, and Matt knew there was a job to be
filled, so he volunteered.
That is LCpl. Matthew Snyder. Not the face next to evil. Not the subject of a lawsuit. Not the
Marine with a so-called ‘ruined funeral.’ He is Matt. He is LCpl. Matt Snyder whose funeral
was attended by so many who loved him and by so many who never knew him but came to
honor his service. He lived like so many other kids in America, and who is and will always be
loved. And that is how Matt should be remembered, identified, seen and heard."
Jane Perkins of Boyertown, PA
March 31, 2010
As the mother of two young Marines, we honor your memory Matthew by standing with
your Dad and family during this trying time.
Feb 18, 2008
LCpl Matthew Snyder, USMC, enlisted while still in high
school [March, 2003]. He was killed three years later [March, 2006] in
Al Anbar, Iraq. He was a gunner on a humvee, providing escort security
into enemy territory, and was killed in a rollover on the way back
from delivering supplies. Matt believed heart and soul in the Corps and in
his country. As terrible as it is to deal with the loss of our Matt,
we live with the comfort of knowing Matt lived life to the fullest,
having no regrets, having left here doing what he wanted to do, on his
terms. He died a true hero. He is truly, deeply and forever missed. But
through our tears, we celebrate a life well-lived and a young man
I want to thank my friend, Rodney Brewer, for posting this memorial
page for Matt. Rodney, you are appreciated. Julie Francis, Matt's Mom