Nevada Senator Harry Reid delivered the following remarks today on his filing of an amicus brief on behalf of the family of fallen Marine Matthew Snyder. Sen. Reid was joined by Matthew’s father, Al Snyder of Maryland, Walter Dellinger, attorney of record on the brief that will be filed by Sen. Reid and bipartisan members of the U.S. Senate, Joe Davis of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Phil Riley of the American Legion and Steve Stobridge of Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).
“If I asked you to imagine sending your 20-year-old son to Iraq as a Marine, most parents would wince at the thought, even as you felt pride in your son, the Marine.
“If I asked you to imagine that son never coming home, it would be your worst nightmare.
“But what if after those heart-wrenching things happened – as you were burying your son – fanatics loudly protested his funeral with profane slurs and degrading signs?
“That’s what happened to Al Snyder after his son Matthew gave his life for this country four years ago.
“We know that’s vile. We know it’s evil. But a court in our country has said fanatics had a right to ruin the only funeral the Snyders will ever have for their son Matthew, and there is nothing they can do about it.
“They didn’t stop there. They asked Al and his family, who had already lost so much, to pay legal fees for those same fanatics.
“The Snyders were robbed not only of their son, but of the chance to say goodbye in a solemn and dignified way. They don’t want any other parents to know the same pain.
“It’s been said that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Well, we could not do nothing.
“That’s why today I’m filing a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court, and it’s why Senators – Republicans and Democrats alike – have joined me. I thank Walter Dellinger and his firm for his help in writing this brief.
“It says simply that just as the Constitution guarantees our right to free speech, and just as the Supreme Court has protected our right to privacy, a private family funeral is a similar basic right. After all, if we cannot respect each other’s freedoms while honoring the memory of our fallen troops, for what freedoms do we ask them to fight and die?
“I’m honored to represent the United States Senate today – Democrats and Republicans. I’m also honored to be joined today by Joe Davis of the VFW, Phil Riley of the American Legion, and Steve Stobridge of the Military Officers Association of America.
“But I’m most honored to join Al Snyder in a fight that would make his brave, beloved son proud.”