Hours Before He Died, Sam Snow Got What He WantedJuly 31st, 2008
The 84-year-old WWII vet heard the U.S. Army apologize for a wrongful court martial.
Samuel Snow died a little bit easier. On Sunday, the 84-year-old WWII veteran passed away, 64 years after being wrongly convicted of rioting and lynching an Italian prisoner of war at Fort Lawton in Seattle. Several months ago, the U.S. Army found that Snow and 27 other African-American soldiers had been railroaded. The military cut him a check for $725 in back pay, the amount he was owed at the time of his conviction in 1944. Snow refused to cash the check, believing he was due much more. Cashing the check, a letter from the Army said, would have prohibited him from seeking more. In a special ceremony at the Seattle post just hours before Snow expired, a top Army official formally apologized to him the others involved in the case. “It’s mighty long coming,” Roy Montgomery, 87, told The New York Times. Montgomery, who lives in a nursing home in the Park Forest, Ill., is now the only known survivor among the soldiers. “We’re probably going to frame that check,” Snow’s son, Ray, said, noting that his father died with a smile on his face. A measure floating around Congress could mean at least $80,000 for the survivors’ families.