Dec 8, 2015 12:49 PM

Nashua music teacher in Pearl Harbor attacks honored as US commemorates 74th anniversary

NASHUA - Monday, Dec. 7, the U.S. commemorates the 74 anniversary of when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor but many different towns and cities held remembrance ceremonies Sunday including Nashua.

Matt Van Wagner is a Nashua man who now remembers his music teacher, who was caught in the line of fire during the deadly attacks.

Lloyd Snyder, was Wagner's music teacher who was aboard the U.S.S. West Virginia.

“On the morning of, he was on his way to the head, the bathroom, the mens' room to shave and a porthole cover flew across his path. They had their first reproduction, their first bomb had hit.” Said Van Wagner.

Snyder and the others aboard the ship had no idea what was going on.

“He thought that when he felt the first percussion that maybe a ship had rammed him, he had no idea, no one had any idea” says Van Wagner.

Van Wagner is a bugle player who now plays at military ceremonies to remember those who have lost their lives for the country.

“Put music in the hands of a lot of young instrumentalists like myself and so I play this ceremony with him completely in mind," Van Wagner said, at Nashua's Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

The U.S.S. West Virginia was in the harbor next to the U.S.S. Arizona. “They finally got the order to abandon-ship, he went topside, looked over to where the Arizona once was and it no longer was, it sank that quickly,” said Van Wagner.

Snyder was able to swim ashore safely and after the battle was over, he went back to retrieve one of his instruments, a french horn.

“Half of it was as beautiful as when it was first produced and the other half of it was blackened and charred" said Van Wagner, "he had a lot of offers over the years to have it fixed and he always said no, no I think I’ll keep it as is."


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