Devin A Snyder
Cohocton, New York
June 4, 2011
Killed in Laghman province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.
|Body of fallen female soldier arrives in hometown
By Michael Zeigler
(Rochester, N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle
During a solemn procession marked by the skirl of bagpipes and the sound of U.S. flags snapping sharply in the breeze, the body of Army Sgt. Devin A. Snyder arrived June 13 at Greater Rochester (N.Y.) International Airport.
Snyder, 20, of Cohocton, Steuben County, was killed June 4 by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan that also killed three of her fellow soldiers. She was the first female soldier from western New York to die in the war.
After a casket containing Snyder’s body arrived by jetliner at the airport, it was transferred to a hearse that took it to Walter E. Baird & Sons Funeral Home in Wayland. As it neared the airport’s exit gates, it passed under a huge U.S. flag, suspended between two ladder trucks of the Rochester and Gates fire departments.
The hearse left the airport accompanied by police motorcyclists and cruisers and 150 motorcyclists of the Patriot Guard Riders. Snyder’s family members followed in a bus.
Members of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Rochester Blue Star Mothers — a group whose sons and daughters are serving in the military — lined the route of the procession outside the airport to show their support as members of an extended military family.
“This is one of our own,” said Jim Vanderpool of Rochester, past commander of Patchen-Briggs Post 307 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “As veterans we’ve all been called to fight for freedom. We share the grief of Sgt. Snyder’s family and we’re here to support them.”
Sue Louis of the Blue Star Mothers, whose two sons served three deployments each with the Navy over the past eight years, said Snyder’s death hit close to home.
“We’ve had children honorably serving our country and we’re here to recognize Sgt. Snyder’s service and sacrifice,” she said as she and Blue Star mother Angie Uhnavy and Jennifer Duval, a liaison for veterans and their families with the American Red Cross, held a U.S. flag in front of them.
|‘She was somebody who never quit. Never’
By Jason Whong
The Ithaca (N.Y.) Journal
COHOCTON, N.Y. — More than a thousand people flooded Cohocton on June 18 to honor the first Southern Tier woman killed in action in Afghanistan.
Mourners filled the Cohocton Sports Complex for the funeral of Army Sgt. Devin A. Snyder, 20, of Cohocton.
Snyder, a military policewoman, was among four soldiers killed June 4 in the blast of a roadside bomb near Mehter Lam in eastern Afghanistan.
As hundreds were inside the stadium for the first part of Snyder’s funeral, hundreds more were outside, honoring her by hoisting American flags and shielding the family from a protest that never materialized.
Snyder would have been reluctant to accept praise for her sacrifice, her mother, Dineen Snyder, said after the funeral.
“Devin was humble. She didn’t look for recognition for anything that she did,” Dineen Snyder said. “She’s probably up there thinking that we’re making a big deal out of nothing.”
If her daughter had a second chance, she would have done it all over again, Dineen Snyder said.
Both of Devin Snyder’s parents said she was focused, dedicated and an achiever.
“She was genuine. She had a heart of gold,” said her father, Edward Snyder. “Since the day she could walk, she ran.”
During the funeral, the procession entered the stadium under a large American flag hung from the ladders of two fire trucks.
Snyder’s casket, draped in an American flag, was carried on a horse-drawn caisson with an Army honor guard. Bagpipers and drummers played.
Pallbearers from the honor guard lifted her casket and carried it to a platform for the service. They also took the flag from her casket, raised it, then lowered it to half-staff where it remained during the service.
Girls wearing Wayland-Cohocton high school soccer uniforms laid a wreath with a yellow ribbon before her casket.
The Rev. David Bernard gave a homily and spoke about Snyder.
“Devin was pretty much an all-American girl,” he said. “She loved life. She loved her friends. She loved her country.
“I suspect if she had her way, everyone here would be wearing pink with polka dots.”
Army Maj. Gen. Gregg Martin said he felt personally connected with Snyder because he was her commanding general at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
“Like thousands of other young American soldiers, Devin willingly put her boots on the ground in order to protect our nation and enable others to live better lives,” Martin said.
Snyder enlisted in 2008 and was deployed to Afghanistan in March.
After the ceremony, the procession took a course of about a mile from the stadium to Zion Lutheran Cemetery. Hundreds walked behind the caisson on Erie Street, which was flanked by people holding American flags.
The procession crossed the Conhocton River on Maple Avenue, then turned south onto South Dansville Street toward the cemetery, where at least 100 people were waiting to salute.
Hundreds more carrying American flags stood on roads high above the cemetery, forming a belt of red, white and blue around the place where Snyder would finally be laid to rest.
“That was phenomenal,” Edward Snyder said of the sight of hundreds of flags on the heights. “I’ve never seen, I never want to see anything like that ever again, but it was excellent.”
On Loon Lake Road, which looks down on the cemetery, the Patriot Guard Riders stood quietly as a faint drummers’ cadence signaled that the procession was arriving. The sounds of soft sniffling filled the time between drumbeats.
The procession entered the cemetery, flanked by people saluting and holding flags, and the honor guard pallbearers again lifted her casket from the caisson.
Later, pallbearers solemnly removed the flag draped over her casket, folded it into a triangle and gave it to another honor guard member, who gave the flag to Martin.
Martin approached the Snyders, got on one knee and presented the flag to Dineen Snyder. Then he embraced both parents as Dineen Snyder wept.
After the funeral, Dineen Snyder said the Army was Devin Snyder’s love.
“She gave 110 percent,” Dineen Snyder said. “She was somebody who never quit. Never.
“She always wanted bigger, better, and to do much more than she was already doing. I don’t know how it’s possible, but that’s how she was,” she said. “She loved with her whole heart.
“I’m going to miss her a lot.”
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