How do we even begin to try to put to words the story of our Matt, especially when he, like so many others, was taken way too soon? The loss of an older person is painful and sad, but it is more to be expected, more acceptable as the natural course of things. A life ended abruptly, and at a young age, is harder to reconcile and harder to come to terms with. It becomes more of a “what might have been” rather than a “what was”.
Matt “was” a most wonderful son, brother, grandson, godson, nephew, cousin, friend-way before he became, just as importantly, another “brother” to his fellow Marines. He “was” happy, friendly, hard-working, loving, strong, patriotic, dependable, animated, caring, compassionate, athletic, determined, courageous, disciplined. He “was” playful, serious, family-oriented, dedicated, positive, and goal-oriented.
He “was” so many things, countless things; yet he still had his whole life ahead of him-what might have he gone on to do? Would he have been a career Marine? A married man? A father, an uncle? Would he have settled back in Maryland, or elsewhere? Where would he have gone? What would he have done as a career Marine or as a civilian? How many people might he have reached, touched, helped, inspired?
Of course we cannot answer these questions.
However-we can step up to the plate for him. We can carry on his legacy-one of patriotism, family, love of country and his fellow human beings. His is a legacy in which he stood up for the underdog, even as a kid, defending his friends in school and on the playground. One in which he appreciated the military; in one instance, by being a pen pal with a young soldier when he was in the second grade and the soldier was overseas during Desert Storm.
One in which he appreciated our veterans; planting flags at Garrison Forest State Veterans Cemetery with other young children for Memorial Day-a foreshadowing of sorts?-this is the Cemetery in which he now rests. A legacy of helping and caring, of showing compassion and concern for others-in his letters home from Boot Camp, so many times he would write for us not to worry, that he was doing great, that despite the challenges of it, he actually liked it and wanted us to know “it’s all good”.
Here he was in Boot Camp, going through the rigorous training there, and yet he always made sure in his letters and phone calls to put a positive light on whatever he was telling us about.
This is his legacy-love, compassion, strength, good works, pride, courage, and so much more. And we will strive to carry his legacy forward, through the LCpl Matt Snyder Camp Snoops Project.
This project will help to promote Memorial Day, Veterans’ Day and appreciation of troops and veterans through education in our schools. It will also seek to provide assistance to wounded and returning troops and/or their families on an as-needed basis.
Please continue through the pages here, to learn more about Matt, Camp Snoops, and various ways you can help us to educate and help others, in the way we are certain our Matt would have done……