The Westminster portion of Md. 97 will be dedicated to fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder this Friday.
Del. Haven Shoemaker will head the dedication at 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 28 at Ruby Field — the Westminster High School Stadium.
“He was a young man from Finksburg who enlisted in the Marine Corps. right after [graduating] high school [in 2003] and was killed in action in Iraq in 2006,” Shoemaker said this week.
The idea for the dedication was presented to the delegate by one of Snyder’s classmates from the Westminster High School Class of 2003, and there will be others present Friday who graduated that year, he said.
Shoemaker said he also felt it was important because Snyder’s funeral at St. John Catholic Church in Westminster drew headlines in 2006 when seven members of the Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funeral.
The protest led to a lawsuit against Westboro Baptist for defamation, intrusion of seclusion, publicity given to private life, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and civil conspiracy, a case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“You know, I remembered the brouhaha surrounding his funeral and the protest — and I remember how dismayed I was about that — and I thought it was the least I could do to reach out to the State Highway Administration to see if I could make that happen,” he said. “And SHA was very accommodating and very understanding, and it’s going to happen. We are extremely pleased about that.
“Notwithstanding the goofiness of the protest and the protesters, the fact remains that this young man was a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us,” Shoemaker said, “and we thought it would be a small measure to get a portion of Route 97 dedicated adjacent to the high school where he went to school in perpetuity.”