Coverage of Westboro Baptist case distracts from what's important: Matthew Snyder

March 08, 2011

Unlike the news written in the past 41/2 years by the media, most of whom were not present at the funeral of our grandson, Lance Cpl. Matt Snyder, I would like to tell the way it really was that day.

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 I ever saw or heard).

As we waited for Matt to be brought into the church I 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 an occasion of pride and respect. As the procession left the church, passing by the Patriot Guard, we proceeded down Rt. 140 escorted by local authorities, and young school children stood with their hands placed across their loving hearts. The fire fighters 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 the lawsuits.

John and Cay Francis, Catonsville

The writers are Matthew Synder's maternal grandparents.

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