Disabled Veteran, World War II
unknown – 23 December 1996
At age 15, he put school on hold and volunteered to fight for his country as a Marine.
He often spoke of his memory of the beauty of the bright day of 24 September 1944 – the last day he would ever see a sunrise. As a Browning Automatic Rifleman, he was ordered to advance toward the enemy line and was hit by a barrage of enemy hand grenades. He was so severely wounded, including total blindness and fracture of his left leg as well as multiple wounds to his entire body, that he was later classified as totally disabled.
Following his discharge from the military, he returned to complete his high school education and continued on to complete two years of college. Because of frequent illnesses related to his war injuries, he was unable to follow his desire of further education. However, he continued self-improvement as an avid reader of books and any available recorded articles through the Library for the Blind. His mind was like a sponge that absorbed and remembered information in any form that he was exposed to. He had an extraordinary imagination and developed skills in working with industrial grade tools to fulfill his pleasure in working with wood. He mastered working with electricity and developed plumbing skills. He had prudent foresight into management, which resulted in the betterment of our lives as a married couple.
Later in life, through encouragement from friends, he was able to acquire an advanced license as a ham radio operator. This required many hours of concentration and study since this required committing everything to memory. This became his main contact with the outside world. His world-wide contacts provided him with a vast source of knowledge as well as pleasurable entertainment for him.
He lost his life to cancer on 23 December 1996 and as a memorial to my dear husband, I set up the William Snyder Scholarship Fund. It is my sincere hope that it will serve as an inspiration to accomplish your goals in life.
MAJ Myrtle M. Snyder, ANC, USA-Ret.