Tuesday was a very difficult day for us as a family . . . saying “see you later” to my Dad . . . but it was a beautiful day with all the things that Dad wanted for his send off . . .
But the thing that amazed me and upset me at the same time was the tremendous amount of courtesy and the complete lack of respect extended to the funeral procession as we traveled from the church to the cemetery . . .
My Dad was all for courtesy – opening doors for people, saying “please” and “thank you” and respectfully calling someone “sir” or “ma’am”. And he made sure that we all learned those lessons. When we learned to drive, he did his part to teach us the rules of the road and how to be safe drivers. He made sure we knew to pull over for police and fire vehicles, stop for school buses, and especially for funerals. I remember many times hearing him complain about the lack of respect of someone that wouldn’t stop for a funeral procession.
Which makes what I’m about to tell you so hard to understand . . .
To the many people who pulled over and stopped, to the guy that pulled over AND took off his hat, to the guy that took off his hat and waved it at the hearse (there was a USMC logo on the side of the hearse), to the UPS driver that stopped as he turned a corner and blocked traffic so no one could go past him . . . thank you from the bottom of my heart for that kindness . . . you will never know what that meant to me and my family.
To the two guys that were in such a hurry to get to the next light (which turned red as they got to it) and to the many other people who didn’t stop or pull over as the funeral procession passed . . . shame on you! How cold, callous, and sad your lives must be to not have compassion for a fallen soldier (okay he served over 60 years ago, but you didn’t know that) and his grieving family. Is your life really all that important that you couldn’t take a few minutes to pause and say a prayer for us? The funeral procession wasn’t all that long . . . would it really have made that much of a difference? If the answer is “yes, it would completely disrupt my day” then you need to re-think your priorities in life.
And, that my friends, is why I always always ALWAYS have and ALWAYS will pull over and stop for a funeral procession. Because “there but for the grace of God, go I”