In the local paper the past few weeks, there have been stories recounting the dangers that our police officers face when they are the official escorts in funeral processions. In fact, there was a story, complete with a photo of an officer’s ride, which was pretty well damaged in the line of duty. Fast forward a few days to the editorial section of the paper, where a Mr. Raymond Ruiz of Pearland, Texas opines: “I think it is past time we get away from escorted funeral motorcades as a routine occurrence. In addition to the obvious peril to motorcycle escorts, they also serve as a hindrance to the everyday activities of hundreds of people who are inconvenienced due to convoys occupying multiple lanes of freeway traffic and blocking untold intersections along the way to the burial site. The deceased have all eternity in the offing. Does it really matter if those saying goodbye arrive at the cemetery all together?” (The Houston Chronicle, December 22, 2011)
Seriously, Mr. Ruiz????? Have you never lost someone close to you? Have you never mourned the loss of our best and brightest who have had their lives cut too short by misadventure? Does the corporate loss of a unique individual from this planet inconvenience you too much?
I agree that it is frustrating to be behind or stopped by a motorcade. I understand the inconvenience of being late to an appointment because I need to pull off to the shoulder to wait and show respect for the grieving family who are making their final destination together to the cemetery. I have also been part of an escorted motorcade, and have been moved to tears by the multiple vehicles who have moved to the shoulder, occupants who have emerged from their cars, standing by their vehicles at attention, saluting as a fallen soldier made his last journey. I have also been incensed at the arrogance of drivers such as Mr. Ruiz who are so self-important that they try to insert themselves into the motorcade, or they try to ride the shoulder and out run the escort. Mr. Ruiz, these are the actions that put our officers at risk.
Nothing and no one is so important that we all cannot take a few moments to honor and respect the deceased and grieving families as they make their way to the cemetery. Mr. Ruiz’s attitude and comments typify the demise of civility in the face of great sadness. What happened to a ‘kinder, gentler’ nation? Where is respect for our fellow human beings? Where has the idea of ‘giving honor to whom honor is due’ in today’s fast paced society. Yes, Mr. Ruiz, it does matter that the funeral procession arrives at the cemetery all together.
Until next time,