On a website dedicated to his son, Albert Snyder wrote, "He was a hero and he was the love of my life."
Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder died in Iraq in 2006. His funeral, the last chance for the Snyder family to say goodbye, was disrupted by the Westboro Baptist Church.
That small, cacophonous band, mostly members of one family, have made it a mission to picket at the funerals of fallen soldiers, spewing their misguided mantra that gays have driven America away from God.
Today, the highly anticipated ruling came down from the Supreme Court. Eight to one,and their right to free speech.
Only Justice Sam Alito dissented, saying the protests offer "no contribution to public debate."
While most Americans would agree with him - democracy must rise above a so-called "church" whose tenets are based on hate and bigotry.
That, it seems, is a cross we all bear for freedom.
That's a page from my notebook.
I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.