November 3, 2022 Drew’s Speech at the Memorial Service at the United States Naval Academy for the 40th Class Reunion of 1982

Introduction by Betsy Snyder: “I was asked by the organizer of this event if any of my children would be willing to say a few things on behalf of the class and more specifically our family. Drew, never one too shy away from a challenge, stepped up beautifully and there were many in the room as I occasionally glanced about through my own tears, who were seen to be wiping away tears themselves.
Drew followed fellow 1982 classmate, Admiral John Richardson, to the podium and below is the speech that would make any Mother’s heart proud.”

Hello I am Drew Snyder. My father Glenn passed away this year.

I was asked to speak to you to share our story – not just the Snyder Family story – but the collective stories of 85 men and women from the class of 1982 that are no longer with us.

While each of those stories are quite different, they all share one common thread, they are all classmates, all a part of the class of 1982.

My story is their story.

I am honored to represent them, and in sharing the Snyder Family story, I am sharing the stories of all these families sitting here today. We are all a part of the Class of 1982.

I was born in Monterey, CA to Glenn and Betsy Snyder.  As some of you might guess, my Dad was a student at the time at the Naval Postgraduate school, where he majored in Physics. I and my 4 siblings are all Navy brats, born all over the US.  Both of my parents were also born into Navy families; both of my grandfathers were graduates of the Naval Academy.  The lives of my whole family have been influenced by the Navy as it determined the geographical details and timeline for much of our lives.  Fortunately for us, and similar to the Christian faith, acceptance of and adherence to orders has offered us both joy and freedom.

The USNA Class of 1982 motto is “Courage for the Unknown”. I think this is a fitting expression for folks associated with the military.  Much of our fate is at the mercy of a temporal power, yet if lived optimtimistically, can be happy and fruitful.  Look no further than the chance meeting of my eventual parents.  My dad was off on a short trip to Killington Ski Resort with some Navy buddies, one of whose girlfriend was living in a Simmons College dorm.  My mother Betsy was the RA of this particular dorm.  As I recall it, she wasn’t planning on going anywhere that weekend, but ending up joining my dad and his group.  I think the spontaneity of the weekend was shared both by my dad and mom, and for that we are forever grateful.
(Editor’s note: I was NOT going anywhere that evening bc I was beginning to type 30 page nursing paper, PLUS I was the RA on duty so I COULD NOT go anywhere. Also, Glenn’s friend who has obtained my number for him did not give it to him for another three days. He, Glenn, had a prior commitment to take another gal out at UConn the following weekend so we did not see each other again until two weekends later and the rest is history.)

Mom, we’re all so thankful for your love and service to us and dad.  You and he are outstanding models of love and respect.  Although initially I took your love and affection for each other and for us for granted, I now have a deeper appreciation for them.  Both of you have taught us to live judiciously and purposefully.  You’ve both been dismayed at my frequent departures from this way, but I know that as I stand before you now that you love me all the same and are proud of me.  Thank God.  And the same is certainly true for my siblings.

Everyone here is a part of the class of 1982.  We are all formed in some way by the people and Naval Academy that fate has united.  It is good that we are here to honor the dead and and also thank God for, as George Washington so aptly said,  the “many signal favors of Almighty God” bestowed upon our great nation.  I wish you all a pleasant homecoming weekend and may God bless you and your loved ones with peace and joy.  Thank you.


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