One sunny morning on July 26 in Philadelphia, Harry Snyder suddenly heard bagpipes playing on his driveway.
The WWII veteran had previously mentioned that he wanted bagpipes to be played at his funeral. However, his daughter decided to let him hear the Scottish ensemble while he was still alive (he is also battling cancer).
The 96-year-old Snyder was only in his early 20s when he joined the U.S. Army. He was one of those who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day during World War II.
Speaking to the Mercury, Snyder said, “I was lucky. I never got wounded. I came close many, many times.”
After the war, Snyder used to speak at schools. His daughter, Karen Potter, said her father talked “about things like the Holocaust to kids, saying ‘You never, ever want this to ever happen again.’”
Snyder managed to return to Normandy for the 70th anniversary of D-Day back in 2014 though, God willing, he hopes to visit again someday.
But on that morning, a frail but determined Snyder walked out of his house with the aid of a walker to witness his dying wish granted.
Friends, family, military, and police were gathered as the bagpipes sounded their soulful tunes and Snyder couldn’t hold back his tears.
“I said, ‘I’d really like to do it now, while he’s still alive,’” Potter said.
Snyder’s wife, Doris, told WTXF, “This is a nice surprise.”
And just like every other veteran before him, Snyder said, “I can’t believe this. I hope I deserve it.”
It was the least that could be done for one who has served his country so well.