a blog about faith and life by Rev. Cindy Maddox

Stopping Traffic

 

Cemetery

To the middle aged woman who gestured angrily and yelled as we passed…

To the thirty-something man in the power suit who honked and forced his black SUV through our line…

To the person who tried to pass us and then moved his car into our lane to block our progress…

Perhaps you don’t know. Perhaps you didn’t recognize the hearse and the flapping flags on the first few cars. Perhaps you didn’t notice that we all had our lights on and our hazards flashing. Perhaps your mama never taught you to show respect to the dead by showing kindness to the grieving.

You couldn’t know, of course, that the woman inside the hearse was only twenty years old. You couldn’t know that she leaves behind parents and siblings and a young husband and a one-year-old baby girl. You couldn’t know anything about the person in that hearse or the many people who followed. But you still could have stopped. You could have waited. You could have recognized that someone else’s pain was greater than your need to get to lunch.

Her parents saw you—you were just the first of many who will be impatient with their grief. Her younger siblings saw you—breaking the chain of cars that separated them from their sister’s body and their parents’ arms. You see, a funeral procession is not about getting to the cemetery at the same time. A funeral procession is a chain of connection, a visible sign of the invisible bond of grief. To the grieving, it is inconceivable that the world keeps going when their world stopped. They cannot understand how the rest of the world keeps spinning, not aware that it has lost something precious, when their world will never be the same. They will go through the coming weeks and months and maybe years with a hole in their gut that will be virtually invisible to everyone who passes. But for this day, this moment, they are seen. And if their grief doesn’t stop the world, at least it should stop traffic.

As a pastor, it is my job—and my honor, my blessing, and my burden—to sit with families in the midst of their pain, to hold their hands, to try to bring them comfort when the unthinkable has happened. I listen to their stories. I help them plan a service that honors their loved one. I help them choose a scripture for the service, whether they know many by heart, or know only that their loved one believed, or know only that they want something religious just in case. We create a bubble, or maybe a cocoon—a safe space where they can remember and cry and laugh and sit together in grief and anger and know that whatever they’re feeling is OK. It is heart-breaking to sit in those front pews, and it is gut-wrenching to watch those who sit in the front pews. But we are in it togetherthis thing called life, this thing called grief, this thing called love. And then we move from that space, together, for one last difficult act after so many others—one that nobody ever wants to imagine but always fears—to see our loved one’s remains laid in the earth. So we follow the car in front of us, knowing that we are still in it together, still bound by our shared grief even as we go out into this busy, impatient, insensitive world.

So for those of you who were so angry that a funeral procession made you a few minutes late, I have a few suggestions. The next time this happens, try not to think of the fact that you missed one rotation of the lights; think instead about what the people in those cars will miss. Try not to think of being late for your lunch date; think about the people who will never again get to meet their loved one for lunch. Try to consider that maybe you could inconvenience yourself for one moment to allow a hurting family to stay together, to show them that you see them and you recognize their loss.

I hope you can do this because one day, you’ll be the one driving with your lights on and your hazards flashing, needing to follow closely so you don’t lose your connection, don’t lose your way. And I hope the world will stop for you.

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Comments on: "Stopping Traffic" (329)

  1. Beautifully said. And so important.

  2. Thank you for your words. We buried my 34 yr old daughter in law last week in Veinna, VA. I was so appreciative of the motorcycle cops who kept us together. It touches my heart when people pull over as a funeral goes by.

  3. I remember the old days, when you actually stopped for a funeral procession to pass by as a sign of respect. People today are just too self involved to have this respect anymore and that is so sad.

    • Jasmine said:

      ‘My’ town still does this. It is very rare that anyone keeps driving, walking, biking, or the like… and, if they do, normally another stopped car will pull out in front, blocking any (other) traffic from movement. Just a quiet moment, to show the grieving family, that we see them – the loss of their loved one was noticed!
      – Ontario, Canada

      • Same in my small town. The police sometimes will stop traffic to make sure that the griving have the right of way. I too am from Ontario Canada.

    • I learned by example from my grandfather that you always stop and if possible you get out and hold your hand over your heart as a sign of respect, since you are stopped anyway. This used to be so common when I was a kid. Now people don’t even want to stop at all.

    • In my small town in North Carolina, we stop as well. My children understand why and are bothered by those cars who may not. It is all about respect.

  4. Here in the mountains of North Carolina EVERYONE always stops when a funeral line is coming. It is a show of respect for whomever it is. It is a small thing but I think it is appreciated by the family and shows good manners. Blessings to these people and my apology for these peoples’s ignorance.

    • I used to live in the South so perhaps my expectations are unreasonable here in Maine.

      • Vicki Whitman said:

        Hi Cindy. I am sorry you feel that way about Maine, and people from up North. I live in NB and am pretty sure those of us from up North are as compassionate as anyone from the south. Just because a few people didn’t show the proper respectacular doesn”t mean all Northerners are that way.

      • Oh, I know that! I know many wonderful, loving, sensitive people here. I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise.

      • Manners can be taught.
        You are born with class.
        Or not.

      • Pastor Cindy, I lived in Machias, ME for 8 yrs. People there always stopped for a funeral procession.

      • I live in New England. I’ve spent plenty of time in Maine and N.H. I can attest to the fact in sparsely populated areas (of which there are plenty) people absolutely do stop for funeral processions. Please don’t turn this into a South is more Polite than North thing. It misses the point of the article entirely.

      • Your comment was absolutely disparaging, snide and arrogant. Before criticizing others, take stock of your own attitude. As someone who lives in and grew up in Northern New England, I can attest to people here, in small towns, pulling over and stopping for funeral processions. Don’t generalize, don’t assume and don’t denigrate an entire region. Very poor behavior from someone writing an article about poor behavior. Furthermore, do you honestly think southern folks in the heart of Atlanta or some other large, metropolitan southern city,pull over and stop for a funeral procession? They don’t. So, it’s best not to state southerners are more genteel than Northerners. And yes, you absolutory meant to disparage northerners, otherwise why bring up your southern background to begin with.

      • I’m sorry. Please let me explain. I haven’t lived in Maine very long, and I’ve only been involved in a couple of funeral processions here. When lots of people from the South started commenting, it occurred to me that maybe the customs were different here. (Other people’s comments have reminded me that customs do vary in different parts of the country.) So I honestly thought maybe I was wrong and people in Maine don’t have this tradition. I have learned that people here do, which supports my original feelings about this incident. I did not mean to disparage any part of the country, as I have lived in nine states throughout the Midwest, South, and New England.

  5. I wad taught this many years ago, it’s called respect

  6. Not only did we stop. The music was turned off and we sat quietly and respectively until the funeral passed.

  7. I grew up in a small Canadian border town . Sault Ste Marie was home to a large population of Catholics and non Catholics alike . My childhood home was on the Main Street that led to our city cemetery and my 14 siblings and I would often be playing out in the yard when a funeral procession would pass by our house . I’ll never forget the reaction we recieved on the faces of the families as all these dirty little kids would come to a stand still , remove our hats , drop our balls and gloves and skipping ropes and bow our heads in respect for that dearly departed soul . People who actually shed tears they were so touched that these little children would show such compassion and respect to them . To this day that is what you will see from the good people of SAULT STE MARIE ONTARIO . CANADA

    • I was born there as well and was taught the same. Now living in London, I am one of the few who respect a funeral procession. My music goes down, I am pulled over/ stopped, and my hat if I’m wearing one is removed. I am not overly religious, but I say a little prayer for peace for the family as the hearse passes me. It’s only right. I have been there. Always think about.. What if this was someone you loved??

      • I know exactly what you mean Marni. I’m from London as well and always stop even when the drivers behind me honk and give me the finger. They too will be in the hearse some day. Respect and compassion has to be taught and many parents don’t have it to teach, so it’s disappearing daily and our world is getting worse because of it.

      • I know exactly what you mean Marni, I stop at every funeral procession even if the other cars honk and give me the finger. They too will be in the hearse some day. Respect and compassion has to be taught and very few parents have it to teach and it is obvious by the way our world has become.

  8. Tamara McLean said:

    We stop here, pull over, and wait. Doesn’t matter if it’s 5 cars or 500. During my mother’s procession, I even noticed pedestrians stopping and removing their hats as her hearse passed by. It’s just a sign of respect up here…

  9. Dave Brown said:

    Perhaps they did know every bad point that you noted and are just to rude to care. I guess that I was taught correctly by a single mother many years ago about respect… and I guess some weren’t. When I walked the beat in uniform and a procession would pass, I would stand at attention and salute, even though I didn’t know the individual deceased or their family… RESPECT…

  10. I live in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Four years ago when my mother passed away our procession had to go down the freeway to get from the funeral home to the cemetary. As we were going down the freeway I noticed a car pull out from behind the last car and try to pass us but a transport truck driver that was in that lane pulled up even with the back of our car and kept the traffic behind him until we got on the off ramp to exit the freeway. I cried all the harder knowing that the driver had enough respect for our grieving family to hold off any traffic for us to stay together.
    Also, I drove a taxi cab off and on for about ten years and whenever I saw a funeral I would turn off the meter and wait for it to pass then turn it back on and go on our way. That is respect. For where respect is shown respect is given.

  11. About 50 years ago, I was watching from a hospital window (new baby) at a funeral procession passing by in downtown Lancaster, PA. From the cars and the people I would see, I knew that the funeral was for a Mennonite person. I stood and watched. My parents in law were Mennonite, highly respected, and I knew what good people were passing.

    And then…. there was that one car (green, not black) that Just Couldn’t Keep Up. The driver didn;t seem to get it, and the policeman on the motorcycle behind him seemed to be trying to get him to move. “HA!”I said to my self.”That could be Uncle Lloyd”

    It was. My husband’s elderly uncle who was not such a great driver. I had a good laugh and never did figure out who the deceased was.

  12. My family lost my Mother just over 12 years ago to cancer. She wanted to be cremated and the procession from the service to the crematorium went into a very busy and self-involved area of our city. As we started to turn left across traffic into the property, I saw a guy on a bicycle coming toward us (we crossed his path). I will never forget this man, though I will never know who he was. He got off his bike, and crossed it over the two lanes of traffic and stopped all the cars on the road for our procession to go through uninterrupted. To this day I am very moved thinking about him, and what he did for my family and Mom’s friends and acquaintances that were following her hearse. I wish there were more people like that man out there.

  13. Shamrock said:

    Why do you need to send your children to church to teach them respect, empathy and caring?? I believe caring parents can teach that privately and “socialize” them properly Rev.

    • I agree that parents can certainly teach their children respect, empathy, and caring without going to church. But if they are going to church, then the church should certainly be teaching those values.

  14. My mother did teach me to show respect and to be kind and I did grow up in the faith BUT, I also grew up in the city.

    In the city, there is no pulling over and there is no stopping. Don’t ask me why. I do not know. It is just not done. It is not a universal or common courtesy, that is extended to every deceased person, every where. In the city, I have been a part of a funeral procession and I have seen many but, I have also never seen anyone butt into line or, through a line or, even honk a horn.

    I moved to a rural town, unaware of this sign of respect. One day, I was traveling about 100 klm/65mph down a country highway, when the person in front of me saw a funeral procession coming in the opposite direction. He reacted swiftly and SLAMMED on his brakes, to honour the deceased.

    • Yes, there is great variation by region. I’ve lived in the Midwest, South, and North East of the United States. In the South, people pulled over; in New England, my experience has been that people don’t pull over or stop but certainly get out of your way. This is the first time I’ve encountered this level of impatience.

      • In this world of fast food, instant messaging and instant gratification perhaps it’s more a sign of the times than anything else 😦

  15. So those people crave more attention than those that are burying their loved ones? They don’t respect those that died? They probably don’t respect their own family, living or dead. They probably don’t respect themselves. How could they? Just full of anger and impatience and no time to honor those that they should’ve honored. What a shame. What a sham.

  16. this called up lots of memories — if you want to see extra complications, be around sometime when a funeral procession is trying to navigate a “traffic circle” (or “roundabout,” depending on your dialect!) and not get separated by cross-traffic — one can learn lots of vocabulary, riding along with the funeral director in that situation.

  17. I lived in Chatham kent ont Canada for many years and it was just what you did, I am not a religious person ….it is just a sign of respect. I attended a funeral where the cemetery was in the country and even people cutting their grass stopped and removed their hats. I live in London now and I always pull over and stop even if it annoys those behind me

  18. Betty Crump said:

    So very on point, after my son and then my husband died I remember every inch, foot, yard, mile of the procession from the funer al home to the church, from church to the cemetery and I thank god I did not see any impatient people or drivers that just would have made my grief even worse! Thank you for this post, I hope people read it and learn from it!

  19. Constance said:

    So beautifully said..What is wrong with people do they think that they are immortal..That one day any day it will be them or their child sister mother brother..

  20. Thank yoy Pastor!

  21. As a child we were taught to stand heads bowed if we were outside or walking and a procession passed and boys to remove hats in respect. Cars coming the other way would pullover until procession passed. sadly these things do not often happen. but when they do I give a silent nod in recognition of thier kindness. I ahve seen herses traveling on thier own transporting bodies of someones loved one and cars pull over and show respect

  22. Heather said:

    Agree most whole heartedly – and to those people who feel like their lunch, their appointment, their whatever is more important than the funeral procession – maybe they should just sit back and think about how grateful they are that you aren’t IN that funeral procession. Maybe that will help them get some perspective!

  23. Shirley said:

    Thank you for reminding everyone that respect for everyone—the living and the deceased—is still appreciated by everyone who experiences the passing of a loved one. Respect for our fellow man has been lacking everywhere in recent years—- Let us remember that each life has value and deserves our respect!

  24. I was raised the same way, you stop, what you are doing and show respect to the family,
    Some may not agree, but being a Witch, you learn things also, when my Grandmother Past years ago, during her possession another Car pulled in that did not wait for us to go by, and it was a Sign that my grandmother had met a friend on her Journey home. But for the main point of this Story, we ALWAYS stop, and Wait.. it is RESPECT.

  25. Beautifully said! Amen

  26. During the procession at my Mom’s funeral a group of construction workers stopped and removed their hard hats as we passed, almost 20 years later, that simple gesture of respect still gives me comfort.

  27. Ginny Kupper said:

    My prayers are with this grieving family. I pull over when driving and stop and bow my head when walking and I have taught my children the same. Respect is given and received. My deepest Condolences to this family

  28. These disrespectful people you mentioned, will not realize you are talking to them. They feel they did nothing wrong. So sorry for your loss.

  29. Shame on them, shame….

  30. Sheldon said:

    Amen..

  31. Blah blah blah. Holy crap could you be any more of a drama queen?

  32. Sadly this seems to be the way of things more and more. My grandmother passed away five years ago, and as we drove to the rural cemetery all of the opposing traffic came to a halt and pulled to the side of the road. In the city people seem to be inconvenienced by a cortege because there is not the same sense of community I think. As a pastor, I don’t choose to look at this as a moment for “karma” – that is to say that I hope that if those who don’t understand, and who are rude or impatient someday find themselves in the same position and wonder why others are disrespectful, but rather that the family that I am ministering does not choose to look at the actions of a few people who do not understand or do not care as being a defining moment of the last journey of the one we are laying to rest. The focus should never be on the perceived bad manners of strangers, but rather on focusing on the grief of the friends and family of the deceased and making sure we are present for them in their time of need.

  33. Esther Malcolm said:

    Very well said and beautiful.

  34. Charlene said:

    I grew up across the road from a cemetery. And even though our house physically sat quite a distance from it, I can still remember my mother insisting that we close the curtains when they were carrying out a service / burial at the grave side to give the family and friends of the deceased privacy during their mourning. I also recall when we met a funeral procession during our travels, it was respectful to pull over to the side of the road as soon as you seen the hearse, some even leaving their cars and standing with head bowed as the procession proceeded by. If only the same respect could be given today. Everyone is so consumed with their own person, own needs, own feelings that they fail to acknowledge that of any other.

  35. My brother in law passed away in Hutchinson, Kansas. As the funeral procession passed on the way to the burial site, even the work crews along the road stopped their work, doffed their caps and stood at attention. Such respect shown impressed me greatly.

  36. Susan Joyce said:

    Sitting in the family hearse, still half in shock after my dad’s sudden death, the hearse was travelling along a two lane highway (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) Cars travelling both ways stopped. Two police officers escorting the hearse and other cars in the procession to turn into the cemetery first stopped, removed their caps and saluted us as we turned into the cemetery. I cannot express how much that their respect meant to me. I will never forget the way I felt by those simple gestures.

  37. Too many people today show self absorption to the detriment of the world. Respect and manners are not PC. The golden rule has tarnished. My prayers are with the family and thank you for your service.

  38. As someone who has lost a grandfather and was in such a sacred chain of cars going to put his body to rest, one of the greatest acts of kindness and respect I saw and still brings me to tears is when we were traveling down the main road my grandfather lived on and a gentleman stopped, took of his hat and bowed his head as we and the hearse passed by. To date, I have not seen any such level of respect by a stranger to honor someone who has passed. I am sure it happens a lot but that day it was my family feeling the wrenching of death and it was that day that all our emotions were surging. Just me looking out the window trying to keep myself together this man did a simple gesture changed my life forever and has caused me to be more mindful when funeral processions are taking place.

  39. Jim Tyler said:

    When I was a child living on a military instillation, I would stop on my bike and either salute like my daddy did or bow my head to say a pray. I didn’t question why I did it. I knew it was what I wanted to do and felt good when I did.

  40. i was always told as i was growing up in a small town in southern Ontario that when ever you seen a funeral coming towards you that you need to stop and pay respect to the family and friends of the deceased and bow your head in a prayer for the family and the deceased person and to always wait for them to pass you . I have been in a funeral possessions where i even saw some people try and cut in the procession and to me i felt it was very rude of them , I have also saw a lot of people just pull just stop and pull over and bow their heads in prayer and even remove their hats as we drove past them. Just now days no one really cares about the deceased person or the grieving family. They are too much in a hurry to go no wheres and have no respect, What if it was their family member i wonder how they would feel if this had happened to them. I bet they would complain about the rudeness of some people

  41. So true. Very touching. May the Lord continue to bless you pastor.

  42. I lost my sister and my Dad. I come from a small town and no one would break the line. They have respect but there is some who do.

  43. Becky Johnson said:

    Wonderfully written

  44. I’m sorry you haven’t seen this sign of respect in New England but it does still exist at least in the small towns. At only 46 years old I’ve buried far too many loved ones and I was always in awe of the people who stopped to let us by as well as by the funeral directors and police officers who ensured our connection stayed intact. I’ve also stopped and blocked traffic when need be and had discussions with my own children about why Your words explain so eloquently what they need to hear. I am thankful for this well thought out article as I do agree the newer generations have no idea why we do this and why it is selfish and disrespectful to cross a funeral line.

  45. Charlenne said:

    I was always taught to pull over and wait for the procession to go by. Never gave it a thought, until my Dad, who worked part time for a funeral home, was driving one of the cars in the procession, saw me pull over and wait. He said he was so proud that I still remembered my training and manners. Thanks, Dad.

  46. A few years ago I was the jerk the got into the middle of a funeral procession as it was driving to the cemetery…I felt horrible once I realized, but there were no four way flashers on the cars, and only the very front cars had flags on the hood, no police escort. I had no way of knowing what the slow moving line of cars was about. I absolutely would have shown respect and kept my distance if I had known what was happening. Funeral homes should try and make sure every car puts there four ways on and has a flag so people can recognize what is happening and stay out of the way.

    • The funeral homes often do not have enough flags, but I agree, everyone should have their flashers on. Personally, I would have understood if I saw someone do this. But when people see the hearse and everyone in line has their flashers on–that’s when I get upset about the lack of respect.

  47. Wonderfully written….thank you…

  48. C.Thomas said:

    So sorry for your loss and will pray for the impatient driver’s who one day will be where you were. Respect and consideration for others is becoming a lost art in our 21st century. Sadly we all face the same day as you were facing just hope that the impatient ones will recall their behavior when their turn arrives

  49. Wow, I feel like a total jerk. I can honestly say, living in the mitten state, I’ve never heard (or have seen) of pulling over for a funeral, just that they do have the right of way at stops. I can also say that I haven’t encountered a funeral in a long time either but this post opened my eyes to what my actions will be the next time I do encounter a funeral.

    • I think pulling over for a funeral procession is definitely regional. But to honk your horn and push through it, etc.? That’s what gets me.

  50. Just saying but it could have been an honest mistake and the person may have felt terrible at the time and apologized to the procession, though they could not hear the apology. They may have sped away embarrassed and ashamed with hot tears blurring the road ahead……….

  51. It’s actually a little disrespectful to our dearly departed that you place so much value on what other’s do. No amount of space or ignorant traffic could undo the connection between us. And no amount of condescending rethoric will change the behaviour of others. All you can do is control your own behaviour and your own reactions to other’s behaviour. How are you sure that the middle aged woman wasn’t grimacing when she realized what she had done? Don’t assume that you know her situation either. How do you know that she wasn’t rushing herself to the hospital in labour?

    • Amy MacGregor said:

      Very few middle aged women are in labor and even fewer drive themselves to the hospital. She was a menopausal ignorant bitch who has no patience for anything that interferes with her personal agenda. I have explained to my children and grandchildren the importance of showing respect for a persons last ride. When my eldest son was killed in action his wake was in one town, church 10 miles away. In all of the busy suburban towns we past through the streets were lined with people holding American flags, police officers saluting, veterans and strangers also. Cars pulled over except for 1. Until the police pulled him over. 4 months later we followed the same route for my Dad. Not as many people this time but still quite a few. A few months later there was a letter in the paper from a woman complaining about being inconvenienced regularly by funeral processions. It never occured to her to take another route? She was demanding that they be outlawed. Yes I wrote a rebuttal and my letter received considerable support whereas hers received none. So the tradition of respect is still wanted and needed. People need to be reminded that they really aren’t that important to anybody but themselves and their personal agenda can wait a few minutes, it takes only a minute for a procession to pass.

      • If ” People need to be reminded that they really aren’t that important to anybody but themselves and their personal agenda”, then there is no need for a procession. You can’t have it both ways. Calling someone a “menopausal ignorant bitch” is not respectful either. You contradict yourself to make a point, which becomes useless within your own comments.

    • The beautiful girl in the hearse was my daughter..I was there and you were not please keep your comments to yourself. The people that were spoken of in this blog were doing nothing but being completely disrespectful one of them even flipped my car off and I was directly behinf the hearse

  52. I am a traditionalist in the area of showing respect. We don’t see it enough these days. Shame on those who are so self-centered that they are not willing to give a few moments to grieving families. As you wrote, their time will come.

  53. Da Moose said:

    I was walking home from work one morning back in the early 90’s and some jerk started blaring the song Another Bites The Dust as a funeral procession was going down the street. Now that’s majorly disrepectful & down right stupid.

  54. Ivy Barnett said:

    My whole life I ve stopped for funeral persessions no matter how I m traveling and I m usually on my bicycle I pull off to side of road get off my bike and wait for them to go by if I m walking I stop and let them go by most times before its ended I too am in tears for them and if I m in a car and some one else is driving they have pulled over to let them pass each time I see these I end up in tears for several reasons and the first being the lack of respect people have for the dead it would be different if it was them but its not so they are disrespectful and that angers me not only do I encourage but I urge it to become world wide law that people should stop and let them pass because one day it will be them and we will stop for them to so they need to do the same for them and any one else I was brought up to do this and taught my children to do the same and they do it I have been known to get very angry at people who don t stop to me thats disrespect the dead are just as important as the living and they should be respected If only we had the power to bring them back but we don t so people just stop and let them pass if you are in that much of a hurry that you must interupt then you should have left earlier and trust us when we say if it makes you late for work the boss understands you will not get fired its like the pastor said our lives will go on as soon as they pass but theirs has forever changed and that piece of heart that broke it doesn t come back it will happen to all of us one day respect the dead

    • I agree with you people need to show respect. Part of my culture is not to only stop but also send a prayer their way as they pass. A lot of people could learn to very least respect the dead. And it should be a law.

  55. I grew up going to funerals. I lived in a small town in Iowa and had so many relatives there that it seemed we had a funeral to go to every month. Pulling over and stopping for a funeral procession to go by was just done. No questioning that. To this day I pull over to wait. But with that being said, I have told my loved ones and friends that I don’t want traffic to stop when it is my time. My soul and essence will already be elsewhere, and I want to know that the world will move on without me. In fact, if some of them did a few “Chinese Fire Drills” and switched cars when at stop lights that would make me happy.

  56. Sandy biamonte said:

    Amen to that…i have had this happen and saw it with my own eyes at a loved ones funeral. I respect the ones who stop in reverence for the deceased “last” ride of their life. Shame on the impatient nasty people who have no respect at all. Change your life and grow up. Think about the grief rather than your own selves.

  57. Reblogged this on galesmind and commented:
    My husband is a funeral director. People used to show a lot of respect for funerals. Is life so cheap, are you so busy you can’t wait with respect for a few minutes? Next time it could be someone you love.

  58. This should be in the driver’s manual and on the he driving test !

  59. In Hamilton back in 84 I remember taking my driver license course and there was a “what should you do when a funeral goes by” part to the test. It was strongly recommended that you show respect for the family by waiting for all the cars that have the flags to pass. I don’t know if this info was taken out of the driver’s text but I remember that you can be charged for passing the procession or interfering with the line of cars. I may be wrong but I have never taken the chance.

  60. I just taught my 15 yr old this very thing this morning as he is learning to drive. This ought to be in the driver manual. If I hadn’t thought to say it, he might never have been told.

  61. When my grand father, a WWII Navy vet, passed away this past October people had no choice but to stop. Our local Patriot Guard Riders lead our funeral procession with their huge American flags on all their bikes, the glass motorcycle hearse with the flag wrapped casket inside and when going through intersections and turns and such they would park in front of all the on comming traffic so no one could cut in/through.

  62. Not only will I someday “be the one driving with your lights on and your hazards flashing,” on some later day I will be the one stretched out in the first car. All the more reason to show respect.

  63. Thank you. In 2006 we buried our 23 year daughter (Beth was buried on her 24th birthday) who died during military service (she was killed here on U.S. soil). There were 74 cars in the funeral procession (rather long but given who she was, who she touched, and the service she gave to her country) it was understandable. Through most of the 4 mile trip from church to interment there was a police honor guard and escort however at one intersection a car tried to cut between the family car and our daughter. A tow truck driver ended up pulling in front of the car to stop him from cutting us off. I will never forget that…..I was shocked and saddened. I remember thinking…..’This is my daughter. I need to stay as close to her as I can right now. I don’t have tomorrow.’ Thank you for writing this so beautifully.

  64. SnowAngelHeart said:

    grew up in Waterville, Maine and was taught to pull over, turn off the radio, and wait. I now live in Virginia and taught that sign of respect to my children. I too, while waiting, say a prayer of peace over the family. When we were traveling and saw an accident, my children and I would all say prayers for the victims, families, responders, and physicians – prayers of peace, healing, strength, encouragement, guidance.

  65. This is such a beautifully written piece. I live in a college town and am appalled and saddened to see more and more the disrespect shown by not only the college students (who show disrespect in just about every area), but older people when it comes to a funeral procession. I was taught to pull over until the entire procession passes, I make the sign of the cross and say a prayer for the deceased’s soul. That’s how I was taught, and that is what I will continue to do until it’s my time in the hearse…then I hope and pray that others will show my family respect by doing the same.

  66. Jim Chambers said:

    Well said, as a pastor myself and also working in funeral service I see this also.

  67. Very well said.people today have no respect ,i am in my seventies you always stopped and let the procession go by.not today everyone is in a big hurry for no reason.

  68. Marilyn said:

    My mother passed away about 7.5 years ago. As the family procession went from the funeral home to the cemetery, a group of men, employed by the City of Fernie, BC, who were working alongside the road, removed their hats and bowed their heads. Their gesture of kindness and respect, moved me to tears and is something I will always remember.

  69. Maureen McManus said:

    I always show respect for a funeral procession, everyone should! However now with cars whose lights remain on basically always I wonder if sometimes people don’t recognize a funeral procession for what it is? I think the bright neon funeral cards on the dash are really helpful. This is not to say some people are just impatient and insensitive but possibly a fix for those who just don’t see the first few cars and realize what they are interrupting??

  70. The funeral procession for my brother went by a high school football practice field. The coach had the entire team stand at attention with their helmets off as we drove by.

  71. I don’t understand how people can do this respectfully you always pull over and let them go by even when I’m on the opposite side of the road I pulled over as a funeral procession goes by that’s respecting somebody the person who has passed and their family and friends.

    • My husband and I always pull over when there is any funeral procession. That is the only proper thing to do out of respect for the family and friends left behind.

  72. Well said !

  73. Sergio H Miranda said:

    In today’s high speed world,we easily loose the notion of right and wrong! Unfortunately selfishness seems to be the new normal.

  74. Rose Ann said:

    Shame on those people!!!! Are we as a society so far removed from respect and decany as to do such dispicable thing??!!

  75. People don’t have respect for the dead. It is a shame that our society has been reduced to such pettiness. They should put themselves in the shoes of the grieving family.

  76. What a powerful message and reminder of the ceremonial importance of funeral procession. Thank you so much for sharing.

  77. I grew up with my dad being a funeral director. All my life it has really upset me when someone wouldn’t pull over for a funeral. I have always pulled over since I have gotten my drivers license out of respect and because I knew my dad would open a can of whoop ass if I didn’t. My husband also pulls over when he sees one. My grown kids make their spouses pull over also .

  78. Dorothy Brown said:

    So beautifully expressed. I feel so deeply, everything you posted. I remember so well when my little boy died, wondering how the world could still turn. My world stopped.
    Since then I have been behind that hurst 6 more times.
    Thank you.
    I akways pull over and stop in reverence.

  79. Joanne Keegan said:

    I live in Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada. It’s a city of over 100,000. Whenever a funeral procession passes, most on-coming vehicles pull over to the side of the road until at least the hearse and first few cars pass. Doesn’t matter the time of day. Makes me stop and appreciate life and give supportive thoughts to the grieving family and friends. I hope this tradition lives on….

  80. Shelley-Lynne said:

    It surprises me that there are people who take the time to comment to argue about why people didn’t stop. smh.
    May they never have to deal with a heart crushing loss and in their grief witness that the world doesn’t stop, not even for a moment, for their grief.

    Beautifully written blog entry. I will post it on my writer page

  81. I have had several recent deaths in my family and the people out there are horrible. There is no respect. Someone drove into our procession, hit my brothers car and is now trying to sue him!!! He and several other family members missed the graveside service. Oh and they were uninsured to boot

  82. This is something that has always bothered me. Are people more selfish nowadays? Or we just notice it more? It hurts no one to pull over, to stop, to think about life and your own eventual death. And to send a little prayer/good vibe to the family of the person on their way to their final resting place.

  83. Glenn krause said:

    The lack of respect we show others is a measure of the lack of respect we have for ourselves. It is the most conspicuous display of weakness and reserved for the pathetic soul who indulges in the fantasy that they are born of privilege.

  84. Heather said:

    Wow! Yes, let’s reflect on the middle aged woman for a moment?!? How dare you people try to flip this around and say this woman could have been in labor or she didn’t realize it was a funeral until it finally clicked in her selfish brain. How do you miss a hearse or a line of hazard lights on several vehicles following one another for that matter? How can you disrespect a Pastor’s plea for people to be aware and think before acting!!!!!! Shame on you.

  85. I wish I could have written something like this when I was a funeral escort in Central Ohio. Far too many people cutting through and causing crashes, and that was a state where funerals have the right-of-way. It’s far worse here in Oklahoma.

  86. […] believe reading this blog post by the Rev. Cindy Maddox, senior pastor of the First Congregational Church of South Portland, […]

  87. I am happy to see the wide audience this is earning. I have added a link to your blog in a brief post sharing a story of my own, along with a quote by Stephen Grellet (born in France as Etienne de Grellet), a Quaker missionary in the U.S. in the early 1800s. http://wp.me/p2aJWH-aC

  88. I have always pulled over and waited for a funeral procession if one passed. A couple of years ago, an LAPD Officer was killed in the line of duty. I was on my way home from work and on the freeway, and I just happened to be very close to the LA County Coroner’s Office. The traffic report on the radio said the procession bringing the officer’s body was almost there. I got off the freeway, parked my car in a gas station across the street from the entrance, got out of my car and waited for the procession to arrive and just stood there in respect of a fallen hero. There were a couple of officers in that gas station as well, and I walked over to them and told them I was sorry for the loss of their Brother Officer. A little respect goes a long way, and is appreciated. Unless you are bleeding out, a little patience won’t kill you.

  89. Barbara Schiff said:

    This piece is so well written and so moving that it brought tears to my eyes. ❤

  90. You know the irony here is demanding respect and awareness from those you don’t know and may have had no idea it was a funeral procession. You have no clue what was going on with any of those people…whether it was a genuinely honest mistake. You assume the worst, that they knowingly disregarded the grief of others & had time to spare…and base your public shaming and scolding on your perception. Do they get afforded the same leniency and compassion for their perception, or is it a one way street?

    Being late for a job interview may cost you the position. Being late to a medical appointment can cost you your time slot – and people often wait weeks or months for an appointment. Being late for a flight can cause all kinds of consequences in work and family life. If people are rushing there is often a reason- their reason – which is valid and necessary to them.

    So, just as you desired understanding, compassion, patience, etc…consider your own assumptions, judgements, and the feelings and needs of those you don’t know. Assume the best, not the worst.

    • If the appointment or meeting is that important you should always be there well ahead of time.

      • Jessica said:

        I always give myself 20-30 mins of extra time to get to an interview or appointment. If the precession was a few miles long, as the article suggest, that time would be cut short as the line moves more slowly than the speed limit most times. I always stop to respect the loss and grief of others, but there has got to be some kind of boundary to how many cars that can be allowed to stop traffic. I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but 100+ cars is a bit much. It should be immediate family only in the precession if you ask me. Also, I respect those who come home on the 401 in Canada, but there is not always time to move over when it is an 8 lane highway. If you are in the farthest lane away from me, I don’t usually see you. They should have flags on all vehicles involved so you know for sure. Not everyone in the line knows to put their four ways on either. If someone doesn’t have them on, it makes other drivers think that the line has finished and it is okay to start driving again. I’m not saying that there aren’t disrespectful people out there, but just saying that not everyone knows the process, including the grieving party. I am sorry for your loss.

      • This procession was maybe 20 cars long. But otherwise your point is taken.

  91. Pharmgal said:

    I grew up in a small town in west Texas. When there was a funeral, two police cars were involved. One at the beginning and one at the end of the funeral procession. Both had their light lights flashing, but no sirens. The first patrolman would clear the traffic then stop and stand outside his vehicle with his hat off, until the complete funeral procession had passed. They did this for my fathers funeral as well. It was such a sign of respect for the grieving. I get chill bumps just thinking about.

  92. Rose Mills said:

    This made me cry.

  93. hsgrant@bellaliant.net said:

    Our town always stops on both sides of the road when we see a hurst , it’s just respect for everyone.

  94. JenB. That is why you leave early to give yourself time in case of incidents like this. Your whole point is BS. I see it on a regular basis. People are too self absorbed and think they are the only one that matters. Open your eyes and look around and quit making excuses for other people unless of course you are one of them……then I hope you read the comments and understand what the people are trying to say

  95. Leslie Lazar said:

    In The South we stop and pull over … Never seen it done anywhere else

  96. francine said:

    It just comes down to what’s morally right….and let’s not pass judgment. ..I feel for people who must see a loved one off, and I would stop if I was walking …just sayin’.

  97. That is so very informative and hopefully a real learning lesson to those people who were truly unaware of the true meaning of a funeral procession is–to those who have lost a loved one.

  98. I always thought it was the law. Maybe that was just my upbringing. I, too, unfortunately grew up attending funerals so it just became part of my life. But it is very disrespectful to interfere with the procession.

  99. Gail Travillian said:

    My first close experience with death was as a 15 yr-old, at the passing of my paternal grandfather. I recall so well, wondering how the rest of the world could possibly go on about life as usual, when someone so dear to me was gone. Seeing the stopped cars as we proceeded to the cemetery actually was a comfort, though small, and a sign that some others did care. Let’s try to continue this tradition.

  100. Tims mom said:

    I have many stories of this happening during my 23 year old sons procession. Granted it was three miles long with more than 250 cars but we were led by a police car. Intersections were blocked by police until we crossed the invisible line into the next town. You see, these police officers didn’t all know my son. He was a village worker. They weren’t from the same village he worked for. This, for them, was a way to show respect for a grieving family who lost a precious member. I’m not talking about my family. I’m talking about my sons work family. His brothers who protected him the day he died from stupid people with cameras on their cell phones. These brothers witnessed a woman kill my son with her carelessness in her car. In a hurry to go home after work. My son never made it a full mile from his job that day. The hour it took to get from Burr Ridge to Joliet was a long and lonely journey. One that we expected to be interrupted by careless drivers. This may not make much sense to those who read it. Please bear with me here. My son has only been gone for ten months and I’m still navigating my new reality. To those who leave bad remarks: some day, you will be the one grieving. It is a sad and dark space. That hole is real. The one in my gut. The space where joy once was. I still expect to get a phone call from him. My dead son. Tim is his name. He was the light in the dark. The joy in our smiles. The love in our hearts. So the next time you see a funeral procession try to remember, we are all human and make mistakes. Don’t make one to prove a point. Don’t be the one to cut in line to get through the traffic light. Show a little respect for yourself. And for the person who lost the one in the second car.

    • I am so very sorry for your loss. I wish I had words of comfort, but I’m sure you’ve heard them all. Your story will stay with me and I will remember Tim. And you.

    • So sorry for loosing your son….People on phones(texting, taking selfies, or talking) are a huge issue. While young I lived in California and moved to be around my Dad’s family back to Texas. We did not have funeral processions in California, but I learned through my Dad to have respect for family and friends when a funeral procession passed by. It hurts my heart when I see people not even slowing down or getting angry because of a funeral procession. I believe that the younger generations do not know the importance of showing this respect for funeral processions, it needs to be taught again.

      You and your family are in my prayers as your heart aches.

    • thank you for sharing – I’m sure it was a hard comment for you to take the time and write it. So many emotions I’m sure. Your message has impacted me, though I’ve not personally sat and not respected car processions.

      In time, it will get easier for you to talk and think about without crying. Sorrow will be replaced with many happy memories and stories for you to share. God bless!

    • I’m sorry for your loss. I lost my son Alex 3 1/2 years ago and he was only 14 years old. I can tell you it does get better, though it still hurts and always will. I am not familiar with processions. I don’t think I’ve ever saw one but the idea sounds nice.

    • Melissa Basso said:

      I am so sorry for your loss. I can only pray and hope that you have more good days than bed. Try to find peace and comfort in your happy memories. Wish I could say something to make it a little better. 😢

  101. I am absolutely disgusted what is wrong with people who cuts off a funeral procession there should be a big fine go that like come on common decency people. I don’t drive I ride a bicycle and even then I stop riding in respect if I was walking I would stop and show respect. My world crumbled when my dog passed away three months ago he was my child my baby if there was a funeral procession for him and someone treat his day of rest like that I would be horrified so for the people who were on their way to bury their child, wife, mother, sister, grand daughter, niece friend ect I’m so sorry that such ignorance exist please know there were people that took notice and showed respect don’t let ignorance add to your grief my god embrace you.

    • The 20 year old girl you read about in the hearse..that was my daughter…she was a beautiful soul and always had a smile on her face. Thank you for your kind words

      • Oh Angela! I am so so sorry to hear about your beautiful daughter! Please know that strangers grieve with you and this mother’s heart aches for your mother heart. May you feel God’s peace and love. ❤️❤️

      • Angela, I will be praying for you and your family on the loss of your precious daughter. May God continue to comfort you as you grieve your daughter.

      • Julie munday said:

        I lost my sister 30 years ago and it still seems like yesterday and all the “what could have beens” never stop after all this time. I pray daily that I never get that knock on the door like my mom did with my 3 girls. So sorry for your loss- Strive to find something good each day in her memory and for her baby. God bless!

      • Erica Sterling said:

        God bless you ma’am I’m praying for you & your family! May god be with you all through each day & the hard days ahead. God bless

  102. Years ago, I stopped at a green light to let a funeral procession pass. There were roofers behind me that hit the horn and then chased me, blocked my car, made obscene gestures and jumped out of their truck to confront me. I debated running them over as I had my toddler son in the car. People are beyond impatient at times. Very sad that people don’t understand protocol.

  103. I am so sorry for your loss in your family it’s very sad to see how people can’t stop and take a deep breath for 10 min out of there life this family has lost a family member that they will never see again if and no matter where I am if I see this I do a complete stop even if I’m walking it takes only 2 min to pray for this family what there going through so sorry you had to witness so many arrogant people out there sending a prayer out to you and your family:(

  104. Reading this story, with tears running down my face, I remember the feeling of time literally stopping as I looked at my 28 year old brother’s casket for the first time, the long drive to the cemetery, sitting with my family together, all of us in shock.
    Your experience with impatient people, trying to get from pointless A to pointless B is absolutely outrageous to me. I just want you to know that someone out there understands your anger, disbelief, and sadness.
    Stay strong and be positive. I have learned to fill the hole in my heart with the positivity and happiness that my brother brought to this world.

  105. Shirley Akey said:

    Thankyou for reminding us how precious life is…I too have gone through a similar journey…mine is 14 years ago, and it was my son Jason. Unfortunately, the world seems to be lacking in respect today…but you are correct…all of us will be in that hearse some day…

  106. Witnessing the funeral procession is one of those traditions we need to bring back for all of the reasons you mention here … because grief does not flash by or last the length of a stoplight … because we are all implicated in this thing called life that always ends in death. There is a reason that the bells tolled, that people stopped in that moment to hold that family in their hearts, to remember the great gift we have, and how short it can be…thanks for this.

  107. as a child i was taught to show respect. we lived 2 houses down from the cemetary, so we had many funrals come by. My veteran grandfather( may he rest in peace) told us to stop what we where doing till the last car passed by. I have taught that very lesson to my daughter. I get very upset and angery when I see others being disrespectful weither it be on the road or in their yard.. Show respect!

  108. We stop and are re-routed for parades, marathons, farmers markets, and street fairs. Why can people think before reacting. Karma is a bitch though and not being sensitive for those who have just lost someone they love – watch out, you did it to yourself

  109. So sorry for your loss Angela,

  110. I was taught to pull over and stop. To say a small silent prayer for those that are grieving.

  111. Russ King said:

    Thank you so much for your support. That was said so much nicer than the words I had said when we had been cut off. I was afraid we would get lost.I am Sadie’s papa, and I appreciate your taking time to let people know what a big impact this. You indeed are blessed. Thank you so very, very much for your kindness,words and service.
    Papa Russ and Nana Caroline.

    • That is sad that yall were cut off while in the funeral procession for your Sadie….I am praying for you Papa Russ and Nana Caroline on the loss of your precious Sadie…I was taught by my own Dad to stop and pray for those in the funeral procession…I only wish that everyone else would do the same.

  112. I saw this today. My mom’s funeral will be Monday. Thank you for this, this gesture of respect.

  113. Well said…in the hills of Kentucky I experienced the most amazing act of respect as every car pulled to the side and waited as my husbands Great Aunt Stella’s procession passed. A moment of respect lends to moments of healing!

  114. Bill Harley said:

    This was well written! As a Funeral Director I have to advise families before the start of every funeral that there are no courtesies on the road. It’s becoming worse each day as we grow farther apart as a society, as families, as neighbors.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and observations.

  115. dakotacelt said:

    This is well stated and poignant. A few years back I was running errands and waited at an intersection for a profession to pass. Needless to say there was a person behind me who was impatient. The person in the profession was a firefighter who gave his life protecting property and lives. His hearse was being escorted by a brigade of fire engines. I felt the need to raise my hand in salute for his service, regardless of teh person behind me.

  116. I learned at a very young age that it is a common moral courtesy to pull over at the side of the road until the entire funeral procession has passed by no matter how long it is. I was also taught that the person taking their last ride may have been the person who held the door for you, may have raised your favorite teacher, may have raised the person who would one day save your life or the life of a loved one, or may have been the person to pull over to the side of the road to wait while the hearse carrying your loved one passed by. My children were taught the same and my grandchildren are being taught the same. It’s respect for a life lived and a loss suffered.

  117. Toni Muller said:

    I still stop my vehicle and salute those who are passing by. My parents always showed me that respect for the dead and those grieving is an act of compassion and mercy. May we all remember what a life is worth and stop acting as if we were the only one who matters.

  118. Shannon Lavigne said:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your daughter. Prayers for your whole family.
    I lost my Mom back in September and know what it feels like to lose a loved one. She was my life, my rock. At her funeral procession, we didn’t encounter any rude people cutting our line off. Instead, I was so touched by the act of 2 separate gentlemen that were on lawn mowers cutting their grass. They both took the time to get off their lawn mowers and stood beside it, with their hats off and heads bowed. It truly touched my heart. I’m so sorry that rude people with no respect couldn’t show you that act of kindness on the day your world changed forever. Many blessings to you all.

  119. Ppl have gotten in a hurry with their lives. They’ve gotten so wrapped up in believing that where they’re going is more important than anyone else. It is so disrespectful. It even ticks me off to see this, even when not a part of funeral procession. Our society, as a whole, has become more & more disrespectful. But, when you can’t muster up enough respect to stop for a funeral procession, it brings me heartache to think where our society will go next.

  120. Nicole Young said:

    Thank you Reverend Maddox for writing about this! When I lost my mom suddenly last year, it was everyone in the religious/spiritual and funeral industry who made losing my best friend easier to work though the difficult process of burying her. I highly appreciate the work that you all do for it is a lot to shoulder the burden of loved ones dealing with this type of pain.

  121. Annette Talbot said:

    I’m afraid some people have forgotten compassion and respect. My husband reminded me about another show of respect when driving through a cemetery – turning down the radio. My mother always told me not to walk on someone’s grave if at all possible, and don’t let kids run around and yell and scream.

  122. Powerful and meaningful words from the heart! Thank you for sharing and hope the individuals that have acted in this way read your words and reflect back on their actions. To those who may experience a funeral procession in the future, may they pause for a moment and reflect back to the day they read your story. I never thought about the procession as a chain of connection as we all experience the loss!

  123. This hapened to me when my beloved grandmother died, unfortunately i didn’t handle it well becausei was mad that my grandmother died, my poor mother was a wreck, so when somebody even though we where very tight in the procession, butted there way in front of me, i laid on my horn, then when they hurried up around them i chased them down until the next stop light, i jumped out of the car and banged on their window until they rolled down, with tears in my eyes i proceeded to lecture them about what they did, in a not so calm voice, but the middle aged person who should have known better, smerked at me all i wanted to do was smack em, but then my 250, 6’2 cousin walked up and asked if there was a problem, i thought the guy was going to poop his pants, i looked at the guy and smirked back and said no problem, i just said show some respect next time, or maybe you might be in the next procession. Then i returned to the cemetary as everyone was getting out of their cars, and i felt like a weight was lefted off my shoulders.

  124. To Tim’s mom … if it somehow gives an ounce of comfort to the mountain of grief you carry, know there are others who grieve with you. I have lost my son too. I know about that hole in your heart…
    I am so sorry ….we are complete strangers but I send you warm loving thoughts in the days… and years… to come. Our ‘forever after’ can seem like a lonely place.

    • Tims mom said:

      Pamela, thank you for your thoughts. I will think of you and your precious son daily. I didn’t think there were words to express others sadness for our loss. All of the I’m sorry comments make me want to pull out my hair. However, yours did not. To know that a complete stranger can make me feel again blows my mind. Something in your words felt…..more. I hope that makes sense.

  125. Don Morran said:

    After my mother-in-law’s funeral, the church had a meal for the family. Everyone but me was from out of town, so I led the way to the church. A traffic signal separated the group, so we pulled over against the curb to wait for those who were detained by the signal.
    A young man in a red sports car zoomed around us, blaring his horn as he passed, and showed us that he was #1. (I suppose that’s what the uplifted finger signified!)

  126. kim walker said:

    My heart aches for your lost. I’ve been taught to stop as this was a sign of respect. Recently we lost our neighbor and when the Hearst came to her house to pick up her body the entire neighborhood stood on Their porches with heads bowed to honour our neighbor and friend. It was such a beautiful send off. God bless.

  127. My father-in-law, Bob Kinkley, was a taxi driver. He lived in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Wherever he was if he saw a funeral procession, he would pull over to the side and stop in respect for the family. I have never forgotten this, It should be second nature to us all to care about those who are grieving.

  128. Elaine Anderson said:

    How sad that some people have no patience or compassion!

  129. Brent LaBrosse said:

    I was blessed to have so many friends who worked for the police department where I was raised and having volunteered to sing the national anthem every time they swore in new recruits, so when Dad passed away, it was one simple phone call to see if they could help with the procession to the church from the funeral home. My dad came from a family of 17 brothers and sisters so the funeral procession was over 100 cars. The police officers even saluted Dad when the procession passed them. Never saw anyone jump in front of our huge long line of vehicles which was so nice. Guess favours get returned when you help out those who serve and protect us. Still see so many people today passing funeral processions instead of pulling over to the side of the road!! Society has lost touch with respect for others in a time of loss!!

  130. I am 55 yrs in the funeral business & have seen such of course. But a person can be cited for breaking a funeral line & etc.

  131. People please try to have some respect and common decency. What has happened to that…there is not one thing you people are doing that warrants this degree of disrespect for someone who is grieving. Put yourself in their place…what if it was your family…I expect your self centered behaviour would shine through.

  132. I was at a funeral in Rapid City, SD not long ago and was amazed at traffic in that city. As the procession left the funeral home on a 2 lane street and then on a 4 lane road, traffic pull over on both sides of the road to let us pass, this continue for 5-7 mile until we got close to and entered onto the interstate to continue to the cemetery. I was awestruck to the great show of respect for my husbands brother (who was a Navy veteran, the procession was going to the Military Cemetery 30 miles away) and the family by giving up a few minutes to allow us to pass. The are good people out there just thought I would share.

  133. Joyce K said:

    I don’t know any of you, but my heart goes out to you! Pastor, what you have written hit the nail on the head! Very well written! Thank you for taking the time to remind people how to be considerate of others. May God bless you all!!

  134. J R Gillam said:

    Yet another example of the breakdown of the morals, compassion and manners in our society. What a sad state our country is in…

  135. Thomas M Pitts said:

    So beautiful. And so very true. Respect and patience is something that is not taught these days. I, as a 58 year old male, have been in my share of funeral processions. My father, mother, sister, two brothers, nieces, nephews and both grandparents. I remember a funeral procession in Texas one time and this cowboy was on his horse, yes they still have them, and when the procession passed him, he dismounted his horse, covered his heart with his hat and bowed his head. No greater love has a man than for his friend, or someone that they don’t even know. Just a humble respect. That cowboy and horse didn’t move a muscle until the entire procession had passed. He honored someone who was grieving. That image will stay with me forever. People these days are too much in a hurry to get no where and so self centered that they recognize no one when they get there. How I long for Beaulah Land. Prayers. Very beautifully written and explained.

  136. David J said:

    In Sault Ste Marie, it is common for people to pull over and stop while a funeral procession passes. This causes some problems for Sault residents when they encounter a funeral procession elsewhere. I pulled over and stopped I once in Hamilton and was nearly rear-ended.

  137. My mom and I lived in a small town and didn’t have a car. She taught me that when a funeral procession was passing, to stop moving and bow your head to think about the loved one whom had passed and to say a littler prayer for peace for those grieving. Now, as an adult, I stop what I am doing, working in the yard, driving my car and bow my head and still say prayers of peace for those suffering change and sadness. I will continue to do so as a tribute to my wonderful and love filled Mom who has since passed. Thanks, Mom for a wonderful lesson.

  138. One of the most powerful moments I have experienced was watching traffic pulled to the side of the road (and stop) to allow my grandmothers procession to pass and to show respect. They did not know her. They did not know me. It was simply respect.
    Meaningful post thank you for writing these words

  139. Very well spoken ….. This happened with my Grandmothers funeral it was very disturbing the lack of respect given to the grieving family and friends.

  140. Amateur quilting said:

    I was always taught to respect and not to interfere with the procession of a funeral line and did so. On a 4 lane highway though people around here continue to speed on by in the other lane and the other direction. On 2 lane roads they speed (at normal speeds) on along their way. Then one time I went to a funeral for my uncle out of town. I was amazed by the respect shown as in the “big city” on the highways traffic was progressing along but slowing to show respect. This was in both directions. On the smaller 2 lane roads they were pulling over to the side as we passed. It was very moving. I was changed. I follow this respect now and if I do this other drivers now follow my lead. My daughters have learned this as well. We never know who it may be in the the hearse as the story says. Well written pastorcindy. Sorry for the loss you have all faced.

  141. I remember as a child being told to be respectful when seeing a funeral. And I’ll never forget as the hearse was driving down the street, an older gentleman on the sidewalk stopped and tipped his hat at the hearse carrying my belated stepfather. I can’t recall if we had a US flag on the hearse or not, but I still see that man in my memories. I don’t think I’ve seen old-fashioned respect since that day. I have also see drivers cut off a funeral procession – believe me, if I catch up with them, I do give them a piece of my mind.

  142. Dolphin Perry said:

    When my 15 year old brother drowned in 1972, I remember sitting in the back of the family car, watching people on the street, gentlemen took off their hats, people stood stoically as we passed, I looked behind us and could not see the end of his procession. I remember also, when I drove past a procession myself going in the opposite direction, I would turn my radio off until they passed…my kids asked me why and I told them that although I did not know the person who we had just passed, they deserved a moment of our respect….I miss those days, I miss when we had a culture or respect….

  143. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my daughter.at 18 so your post brought me back and if I was there I’d hang back and I would say gestures and yelling at them. That is so disrespectful

  144. Shirre sconce said:

    I was raised to honor funeral possessions when you met one in a car! If it went by your house and you were outside you stop what your doing and put your hand over your heart or salute! Always honor the dead!

  145. Marian G. Baker said:

    Its illegal in my State, people had more respect in the old days. Today its the all about me people. Iiiiimemememeiiiiiiiimememe

  146. Elfriede said:

    Yes this happened to us also just recently.

  147. Amen to that. You tell them Stephanie Brown. Be patient have some respect. One day it will happen to us all.

  148. I have always pulled over to the side of the road, turned the car off, bowed my head and prayed for the person who has passed and for the family, it was some thing that I was taught as a young child growing up in a small mid west town. I don’t understand people now.

    • Similar upbringing for me. I always make the sign of the cross for the deceased and a quick prayer for those grieving as they drive. Being in a funeral procession can be surreal, you’re still in a little shock and emotional. Give them some room.

    • I don’t understand people either. At 53 it’s still mind numbing just how rotten most people are. I was raised Catholic and while I have gone to church on a Sunday in decades I still say my prayers every night for my family, friends and total strangers. I too pull over and just say God bless them. I also say this ever time I see some furry critter squished in the road. The world is sadly getting more horrible each day. Nice to know there’s still others like you out there. Have a great day😊

  149. Thank you for this. I have had my share of funerals and processions. However, I have to confess. I live in Houston , Tx and have inadvertently merged with a funeral procession several times. There is a cemetary at the end of my block. EVERY time, as soon as i realized what was going on around me, i would pull off to the shoulder. And Every Time I was honked at and yelled at by the remainder of the procession. For me, it was an accident. I merge where two freeways come together and the first exit is the cemetary (and my neighborhood). It is very easy to accidentally merge into the middle of a large procession. I pulled over asap. On the highway shoulder. Please forgive the old folks who are trying to amend for their initial error.

  150. I happened to find this article from an Insurance Lawyer about the very confusing variety of traffic laws that govern (or don’t govern) funeral processions in the U.S.

    http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/national/2014/07/03/251323.htm

    I think it would behoove those of us in ministry to help funeral directors in communicating what the actual rules are for our state when we are presiding or in other ways assisting in funeral rights.

    • Miss Butterfly said:

      We have a large family, so it is not unusual for there to be 40+ cars in our funeral processions. The funeral director who has done funerals for our family for years knows this, and he notifies the borough police who are at intersections stopping traffic until our procession has passed through; and yes, we are directed through red lights. Our headlights are turned on, and there are also red, magnetic flags put on the roof of each car.

      Maybe superstition was good for some things because back in the day; old folks used to say it was “bad luck” to intercept a funeral procession; so – everybody waited. The rudeness today is due to lack of respect for anything or anyone because it is “all about me.”

      • Well said! I know first hand that feeling when my oldest brother died and traffic on the highway in the city did not stop. I was crushed – my world had not just stopped, I felt like it had ended. I was 16 and he was my hero. It’s been 44.5 years since then but I still feel the heartbreak. It hurts no one to show some respect and means everything to those given it. When my older yet younger brother died and then my parents died, police stopped traffic at lights and corners where we turned. There was people who joined the police or patrolman in standing outside their vehicles with hats off and across their chest in respect. They were in the country. Maybe city folks get in too much of a rush. I agree for the vast majority it is all about me attitude.

      • Right on!!

  151. It is something that has to be taught and modeled. I remember when I was at a soccer practice on a Saturday morning. Our practice field was next to a cemetery with a row of low bushes separating them and there was a funeral going on for one of the town’s Veterans. Now, any kind of sports practice with young men on a varsity team is loud and we were no exception. However, as soon as Coach saw the funeral procession come to a halt by a grave no more than 50 yrda away, he blew the whistle and called us all in. He pointed out the funeral, put his whistle in his pocket and told us to whisper. We looked around at each other like we thoughtalked he’d lost his mind. This is what I still remember after all this time. 30+ young men played soccer for the duration of the service, quiet enough that the funeral proceedings were louder than us. At the end, there was a military rifle salute & then taps. Coach intercepted a pass, put his foot on the ball stopping play, turned to face the graveside, put his hand over his heart and stood stock still. 30+ young men followed suit and not one of us moved or made a noise until Taps faded into the distance. Coach Kennedy called us in to chew us out about the stuff we did poorly in practice before the funeral started and we continued for another hour or so. That week, in the town newspaper, there was a letter to the editor thanking our team for the show of respect & thanking our Coach for modeling what respect looks like in the real world. It was one little hour or so of my life back in 1972. I never much cared for Coach Kennedy, but I sure respected him for the things he taught us about life, on & off the field. In today’s “gotta get there 5 minutes ago” world, it seems we have lost a little bit of our humanity. There’s no time to show respect for funeral processions and grieving families and it’s from our actions as adults that our kids learn. Seems like we need more people like Coach.

    • ?????????????????????????????
      Are you kidding me???????????
      Are you really bring out the law book????????????????????????
      If you are a minister, I surely would NEVER want to visit your church, EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Forget the “Rule” book, no one EVER follows it anyway, and let us go by GOD’S book, just for that brief moment in time, when people are grieving. Let us go back in time when life meant something to people. Can we do that,PLEASE??????

      • look around said:

        Your excessive punctuation and outrage seem to reflect the same self centered anger as the inconsiderate drivers may be indulging in.

      • Troy Tindall said:

        If you recall, Jesus directed his followers to follow the law, so why should this minister do the same

      • I am confused. Does the word “Law” come out?

    • The Church cemetery where most of my family is buried is across the street in a small burg from a factory – whenever there is a funeral at the Church everything stops while we are in the cemetery – their overhead doors that face the cemetery are shut, trucks, tow motors, everything STOPS. For my father in law we had a military funeral and these guys who did not have any idea who was bring laid to rest stood at attention during taps and firing of the rifles – THAT is respect.

  152. “I hope you can do this because one day, you’ll be the one driving with your lights on and your hazards flashing, needing to follow closely so you don’t lose your connection, don’t lose your way. And I hope the world will stop for you.”

    Well beautifully written.

    Thanks for sharing with us your great narrative of this 🙂

    – The Smiling Pilgrim
    https://thesmilingpilgrim.wordpress.com/

  153. I was raised to pull over in respect for the grieving. My family was from Missouri and on many occasions the people not only pulled over, (all traffic from both directions) but also got out of their vehicle and stood beside it with their hats in hand & head bowed until everyone had passed by. I was too young to understand the first time I saw it but later I was so touched by the love & respect they show. That memory will forever hold a special place in my heart.

  154. There are other ways to be disrespectful as you are at the service of your husband you love with all your heart. A service is not the place for taking family photos. I am still so disappointed in some family members who did this putting them on Facebook and one was all show-off with my husband’s coffin in the background.

    • Keith G said:

      What about *after* the service? Many photos have been taken at the cemetery at many funerals in my family. In many cases it’s the only time you get some of those people together.

  155. How Sad life is that we can’t show respect ,where are we going in such a hurry,not to HEAVEN that certain

  156. Stephanie Stout from Bristol, Va said:

    That is soooo disrespected My dad worked at a funeral home before his passing, we were taught to pull over when you see a funeral

  157. perhaps they were not on their way to lunch, perhaps they were being called to pick up a sick child from the hospital or school.. perhaps, they would lose their job if they were late ..one more time ..perhaps we should stop and think about them too.. let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.. maybe, their ‘hurry’ was as legit as this ‘ slow’ procession.. just saying.. ?

    • Perhaps? Sick child from school, is in the care of adults. Picked up from the hospital, is not spur of the moment that needs rushing. Lose their job if they are late (one more time), will eventually happen, sounds like a pattern. There are a very few moments in life that should superseded other events. A death of a loved one is one of those moments. It is obvious what is going on when you see a funeral procession. Just saying……..

      • Driving -5 said:

        So they deserve to lose their job because someone they don’t even know, died? Your concern for your fellow human being will get you far on judgement day.

    • No excuses Sherry. I’m sorry but that was a just a pathetic attempt to justify the lack of respect and manners of today’s generation. The couple of minutes it would take for that procession to pass is not going to make any difference to anyone else no matter what poor excuse you dream up.

      • Kim Eubanks said:

        I totally agree…I was taught growing up that you pull over for the procession… it makes me sick when people don’t stop or they cut their line… it’s just being respectful for the dead and the family. We all know what it’s like to loose someone we love…

      • Caz's Double said:

        So, a sick child is a poor excuse? Perhaps it’s you who’s pathetic.

    • Poor attitude,Sherrie. k said it best and Caz probably hasn’t been to a funeral because of lack of education and respect

    • Erica Roll Tide Roll!🐘🏈 said:

      Uhm Sherry perhaps you must have been the driver or you literally have no respect & must not be from the South! In Alabama & suppose to be all across the US you ALWAYS STOP for a funeral, but there’s always that 1% which is you that don’t! I’m sorry but someone that has passed & going to their last resting place 6ft under is more important & won’t kill ANYONE to take 5-10 mins out of their “busy” schedule to show respect to that loved one & their family. Especially someone who fought for OUR country & THEIR LIFE so you didn’t have to & so you could still have your freedom. Sounds like you need a history lesson, but first & foremost you need some manners & RESPECT! You gotta give it to be able to receive it. Let’s see how you feel when your in their shoes at some point in time just sayin,but God Bless You I’ll pray that God gives you respect over night because you could definitely use it ASAP!

      • Let’s understand these situations may not be likely but possible.

        A family gets a call from the hospital about a loved one and it’s an emergency.

        Instead of calling an ambulance a family finds it quicker to rush the person to the hospital (this has happened to someone I know)

        A woman in labor.

        Keep in mind, I get irritated at cars who don’t pull over out of respect. I always pull over, although it may take a moment if you’re on a street with many cars parked in the spaces.

        If I’m at a stop light, I think it’s pretty obvious when there is a procession turning through. If a car stops at the red light for safety, I will stay and yield. If cars in front of me go, I will crawl slowly forward and hope I don’t get hit in the ass. Hopefully not because I’m moving slow. If I’m on the opposite side of the street moving opposite the direction of the procession, I will pull over to the first available spot, I don’t slow abruptly but just as any person who would park. I pull over out of respect, not because I’m in the way.

        Someone above stated they had seen a father(I believe it was a father)get out of their car and bow their head, that’s an awesome idea:)

        Even in the instances I gave, caution would need to be used at an intersection.

        I’m 100% fir stopping but I can see why some might need to get in the mix of the procession.

    • Sherry, typical rhetoric about “being late one more time”..If someone is that “late”, then its a pattern that began long before this funeral procession, and not sure how old you are, but I do have some young adults that work for me…it seems its a newsflash, every time I tell them, to get to work on time, you do NOT leave with -0- minutes room for error, or you really are already running late…because LIFE happens, as does death- there is nothing new about this. What happened if you got pulled over by a cop? That same five minutes if you did not leave early enough, the same five minutes waiting on this funteral too, would be blamed. Of course, its NOT the funerals fault that you were late the other five times, is it? And as to the “sick child”- rule of thumb- if they are iN an ambulance, that will take precident to the funeral, but if not, then its NOT life threatening, and there is nothing more important in todays world, than SHOWING RESPECT FOR SOMEONE ELSE…so sick of the excuses in the world today, or, its just a liberal mindset to HAVE TO COME UP WITH A “WHAT IF” to buck the system, no matter what the conversation is about…Bottom line- there are NO “what ifs” in showing respect, thats lesson 1 for the new generation….you DO IT, or you don’t…The extenuating circumstances you speak of, the “what if’s if any”, need to be accompanied by a siren from a fire truck, ambulance or police car- if not, nothing is “what if” enough, to override the respect that this family deserves, at this moment in time…pass that on, because in todays world, respect for OTHERS is a huge lack, I think it skipped a generation for the most part somewhere along the line…

  158. Sir, if this dies not humble those in such a hurry as to add to the grief of others nothing ever will. 😥

  159. As a Funeral Director who is driving the “lead” car, I am afraid of going to quickly through intersections until our escorts have controlled the traffic.
    I have seen Police escorts take rude drivers Drivers License and have them follow procession to Cemetery, wait through interment and then write them ticket.

    • Driving -5 said:

      Meanwhile their loved one died at the hospital without them getting to see them one last time. Your concern for others is so touching. I’m sure you’ll be happy to pick up the rent for the person who lost their job because they were late, right? That being said, I sincerely doubt a police escort can force a driver to a cemetery to wait for a ticket. Either they’re under arrest or they’re not. I would report I was being kidnapped.

  160. Tale a video and post it. That’s the modern may to shame the shameless.

  161. When my sister-In law died in Erie, PA several years ago, our funeral procession passed a road construction site. The workers stopped what they were doing, turned to face our cars, and took their helmets off and placed them over their hearts. I will never forget their act of kindness and respect for as long as I live….

  162. I have ridden in 3 funeral processions in Auburn, Alabama, the most recent was for my husband, just a month ago. The procession took us from the funeral home in Opelika, into the city of Auburn. We were escorted by the fine members of the Opelika Police Department, and handed over to the equally fine Auburn Police. All along the route we traveled, in both cities, vehicles of all kinds slowed, pulled over, and showed their respect. A man holding an advertising sign by the side of the road stood still, with the sign held down. Another gentleman, working on a house, stopped and bowed his head. I hope all the drivers and others know just how much their simple gestures meant.
    The trip to the cemetery is the worst. It truly signals the end. When you leave the cemetery, it is the beginning of change. And no matter the circumstances of your loved one’s death, it is a change that is unwanted and not welcomed.
    I can tell you that this simple show of respect for Mike’s procession was lovely, warmed my heart, and made that last ride with him just a bit easier.

  163. When I buried my husband, our procession made its way from the church to the graveyard. At every major intersection the city police had the traffic stopped. But what touched me most was the gentleman who was cutting his grass along the route we took. He stopped what he was doing until we passed. I will never forget the respect he showed.

  164. Christopher said:

    I once made a left turn into an oncoming funeral procession because I didn’t see the flags and honestly didn’t know it was a procession. It was just an odd, honest mistake. . .I probably wasn’t looking hard enough to know. One of the people in the line did yell at me out the window “Hey this is a funeral procession!” but I was blocking traffic the other way. I was really stuck and didn’t know what to do.

    I know the flag is in plain view to you but it’s sort of camouflaged to others at a distance or when looking crossed at it.

    I know your world is turned upside down but perhaps it’s time to take pause that the world doesn’t center around you and to consider being Christian even in a time of grief. You’ll get there and in this age of driving apps, is it really 100% necessary to form a line to get to the service?

    • REALLY – “in this world of apps, is it really 100% necessary to form a line to get to the service?” You really didn’t blame a funeral procession for your lack of paying attention did you? A long (or short) line of cars traveling slow and closely together probably is a strong hint that this is a funeral procession – I am so glad that you have never had to ride in a procession of a family member or a close friend. When you do you will realize that this is not a ride in the park.

  165. Absolutely no excuses for this kind of behavior … The sick child at school is in good hands til you get there, the job can wait, and the child in the hospital is in even better hands.. Cell phones would explain your 10 minute tardiness…shame on these people.

    • Let’s understand these situations may not be likely but possible.

      A family gets a call from the hospital about a loved one and it’s an emergency.

      Instead of calling an ambulance a family finds it quicker to rush the person to the hospital (this has happened to someone I know)

      A woman in labor.

      Keep in mind, I get irritated at cars who don’t pull over out of respect. I always pull over, although it may take a moment if you’re on a street with many cars parked in the spaces.

      If I’m at a stop light, I think it’s pretty obvious when there is a procession turning through. If a car stops at the red light for safety, I will stay and yield. If cars in front of me go, I will crawl slowly forward and hope I don’t get hit in the ass. Hopefully not because I’m moving slow. If I’m on the opposite side of the street moving opposite the direction of the procession, I will pull over to the first available spot, I don’t slow abruptly but just as any person who would park. I pull over out of respect, not because I’m in the way.

      Someone above stated they had seen a father(I believe it was a father)get out of their car and bow their head, that’s an awesome idea:)

      Even in the instances I gave, caution would need to be used at an intersection.

      I’m 100% for stopping but I can see why some might need to get in the mix of the procession.

    • No way. I had a child in the hospital. We didn’t know if she would live.

  166. Very moving and oh so true! You just can’t imagine how the world can you in when you’re feeling such a loss.

  167. Carolyn said:

    I am guilty of accidentally turning into a funeral procession . I honestly didn’t see the flags until the last minute. pulled right over , stopped my car, turned off radio for moment of silence and respect. I really do think the flags should be of a more visible color, size and placed on roof of vehicle to be seen more easily. My husband was t-boned at an intersection during his uncles procession, total loss of vehicle but thank God no injuries.

  168. We need to do away with funeral processions. Living in a major metropolitan area that already has severe traffic issues, all these do is create dangerous conditions, even with police escorts.
    Have the immediate family follow the hearse, so you’ve got 4 cars maximum. Everyone else can just meet you at the grave site.
    Just going by the crude death rate in my country, there are about 120 deaths per day in the city and surrounding area. Luckily not everyone holds a funeral procession, because 120 a day would grind our traffic arteries to a standstill.

  169. This is a beautiful reminder to all of us. What is missing from this world is compassion, and in it’s stead, we find ourselves isolated and lonely. Practicing compassion on a daily basis connects us to others and thus to our true selves.

  170. norita speakman said:

    I apologize for those who were never taught how to respect a funeral possession, I grew up that when a funeral possession was moving to stop, get out of your car the men would remove their hats and we would stand there 7 til every last car had passed.
    Shame on the ones that have never lost someone they love, but believe me you will it might just be a child, grandchild, mother, father.
    Shame on you for being so Hateful and Selfish

  171. Gennene said:

    Very well stated-thank you!

  172. Andrea C. Grant-James said:

    A beautifully written article. . I am a traditionalist and passionate about respect for Rites of Passage particularly the Burial Ceremony. It astounds me how persons move from the Burial, into a celebratory Repast… each person has their way of coping dealing with grief.
    We must tolerate and forgive those who show disregard or appear to be indifferent.. Unfortunately there are people who are ” Born – Live – Die” with not one person taking notice. Their entrance into the world was considered a misfortune , their life uneventful and their death unnoticed. So we must pray for each person who appears indifferent and thank God that we loved someone and had a life that gave us a reason for the RESPECT we now demand of others who don’t have a clue what you are so upset about. God smiles on the just and unjust…That is Christian.

  173. What a beautiful story, David Beane. It was such a kind and respectful thing for you, your coach, and your team to do!!!

  174. When my dad died, we had the funeral service in one town and then drove to another small town to the cemetery where our families are buried. So yes, we had a procession with our lights on, but we were moving at 65 miles per hour–for a few minutes: We could see up ahead that some old farmer and his wife pulled out onto the highway, headed in the same direction we were in their old pick-up truck. Our graveside service was supposed to be held at 2:30; we all (hearse included) got there about 3:15, because Old Farmer Joe and his wife were driving about 45 and having a nice afternoon drive! They never looked in their rear view mirror to see the line of cars behind them on the narrow, windy highway! At first we were fuming; then we began to laugh about it, as it continued for about 30 miles. It certainly helped to alleviate the gloom of the day.

  175. people those are someones love ones in those hearse please stop for them remember they are hurting one day you are going to be in that hearse your family derseves the sme respect you didn’t give so please learn respect before ur time is up

  176. or they decide to break the procession by going when their light turns green and hit one of the cars in the procession broadside and injure the people on the car. this happened just this past week. injured party went on the cemetery and got medical help for her broken arm afterwards.

  177. In a rush to get no where. No respect. The Lord will slow him down.

  178. Joanne Sanderson said:

    How touching. I have been in that same circumstance when l lost my baby sister and l am forever grateful to the rest of you who were sensitive to our loss. It was greatly appreciated by my entire family and friends.

    And thank you to the pastor who wrote this.

  179. It was a very short ride from the church to the graveside. There were no traffic intersections in between. Still, I remember the local SO, PD, State & City units blocking traffic start and finish. And what I remember most is the officers where I worked from standing color guard for him.
    I tell you now, the people in those cars will not remember the outsiders rudeness because of all the love and concern shown by those that cared.
    Still, show a little respect. And not just because you never know when it will be your turn.

  180. Amen, someone cut me off at my greatgrandmothers funeral. My cousin was nice enough and angry ( he was behind me) he cut the rest of the traffic off for our family to go by cause more people were trying to get by heartless and rude😡

  181. Ovaltene Jones said:

    That person “getting lunch” could be on their way to a make or break meeting and a funeral procession makes them late, if they even noticed the procession, most people don’t. Paying respect goes both ways..life doesn’t stop for anyone.

    • My house is on the same road as a veterans cemetery, so I pull over for at least one funeral a week. I lose 2 minutes MAX each time. And it’s never made me late for work because I have enough respect for my job to leave for work worth more than 2 minutes to spare. Not a good excuse, sorry.

  182. nancy ercolini said:

    This is beautifully done, thank you, makes me feel guilty i had nota for my spouse…the line woulda been endless! But as im told, its for us n closure not the deceased

  183. They should b ashamed of themselves! Unfortunatley it will happen in their lives someday then maybe they will remember for being so impatient. Then hoping they had one more day with that loved one in that funeral procession.

  184. OMG you ran into the I I I,ME me me not the We, Us people. Every day we see so many that can only think of themselves.

  185. This is the best article I have read in a long time! Thanks so much for writing this….

  186. This is beautiful! As one who has been there too many times in the past several years, I choose to wait no matter who gets angry behind me!

  187. I teared up reading this. As a man that’s hard to admit. Thank you for being affirming and for exhorting. We as human beings can make the process of grief just a little easier for someone who is in emotional and spiritual pain. I shared your article and hope I can use it for the next funeral I do.

  188. Tracy Hougland said:

    I can honestly say I’ve never broke a funeral procession. When I was younger no one had to tell me. I just knew it was something you did outta respect. This letter is wonderfully written. I pray my children have this love in themselves I”ll have to ask them!

  189. Lisa firestine said:

    When we were traveling on the Interstate to bury my daughter in a small town in Iowa, drivers were giving us the right of way. After we got off the Interstate, there was road construction and lots of workers. They ALL stopped their equipment and work for us. They even removed their hats and bowed their heads. That’s one of the things during that horrible time that I remember and sppreciate. They have no idea how much their show of respect meant to me. I pray for their safety daily. Some people just need to have more compassion and respect in this day and age.

  190. Calvin wise said:

    It may be your family next time. Nobody is in such a hurry, they can’t pause for a moment to show respect for someone else’s loss

  191. Jeanie Vail said:

    This is so beautiful and eloquent. My family is from Louisiana and Texas, and we were raised to show respect to those who are having what may be the hardest time of their lives. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know them or their loved one. What matters is kindness and love for a fellow human being, and respect for life. Thank you for sharing this. God bless you.

  192. Sounds like every driver in LA to me. I’ve lived all over the country and by far LA drivers are the worst and most selfish with that “ME FIRST” mentality. As a child I remember being taught about the funeral processions. Too bad that some people are so insensitive.

  193. GrUmPy😡🇺🇸.... said:

    As a former Firefighter 1st Responder, ER Tech, 911 Dispatcher, Surgery Tech & Funeral Home employee. I’ve been in & seen my share of Emergency situations some of which ended up in a Funeral Procession. I’m not sure if it’s only here in small town Southern USA, but we are raised to have respect. Believe me, I get bent when I see someone blow the procession line, keep driving going the other way or give a derogatory comments / gesture. It’s at those moments I wish it was a law & if broken a fine “ticket” would be given. All our Funeral Procession have police escort front & rear.

  194. Not all towns provide police escorts & funeral homes charge for escorts, so it is up to the family to try to stay together. I was in a procession a few years back where the last 1/2 of the cars were cut off & I knew others behind me were from out of town with no idea how to get to the cemetery. That was the scariest ride I’ve ever been in. Not only are there impatient drivers out there but also uneducated ones. This is not something given much attention in drivers Ed or the rules of the road books. Frankly, when I mentioned it later, many younger adults brushed it off as no big deal. I’ll probably not have one given the tone of that conversation.

  195. Such beautiful words to describe the grief and sorrow of the family members and friends of the deceased and the crudeness and rudeness of those impatient, and disrespectful drivers!
    Very nice of you to remind us of those mourning and those trying to get to lunch on time!
    Thank you,
    Helen

  196. brandy s said:

    I remember the first time I ever saw a funeral procession I was living in Midwest at the time and I was in my thirties
    before then I had only lived on military bases and we never saw funeral processions. On this day I was headed to town on a bright sunny day and there was a long line of vehicles coming toward me which is nothing new. at first I didn’t see the headlights, there were no hazard lights on any of the vehicles, and I hadn’t seen the hearse because it is already past where I turned onto the road. so at first I didn’t understand why I was being honked at,given rise gestures and being screamed at out of car windows. the second I realized it was procession I pulled over shut off the car and waited. Because I grew up in cities and military bases I wasn’t taught about what to do for funeral processions, it wasn’t thought of to teach at home or in drivers ed.

  197. Keith G said:

    Funeral procession traditions vary so much depending on what part of the country you’re in. I knew about waiting to let the *whole* procession pass through what for them is a red light and for you a green one, but I’d never heard of traffic stopping in *both* directions before. And I don’t think I remember traffic pulling over as if it was an emergency vehicle coming through.

    And with people being from all over these days…with a person who grew up in X now living in Y….sometimes it’s possible for them to not know the local lay of the land as far as funeral processions go.

    However, I’ve *driven* in my share of them, and I’ll tell you that driving as close behind the other cars as they tell you to makes me a bit nervous. To me it’s a chain reaction accident waiting to happen. In fact, I was in one of those chain reaction accidents.

    In addition, in Judaism, should a funeral and wedding procession meet at the same intersection, the wedding has the right of way because “life has precedence over death.” So it’s not all as cut and dried as you might think from your perspective. You might think that the wedding procession should be the one to wait, out of “respect”, but other traditions say otherwise.

  198. Virginia Grey said:

    Very well said Pastor. I come from a generation that was taught that people always pull over out of respect for a funeral procession. I went to a funeral on Prince Island, Canada one time and a man on his tractor pulled over, got off, took off his hat and stood until we had passed by. That’s respect.

    • Julie Johns said:

      I’m so sorry that the whole funeral group was tested so disrespectfully! My condolences to that Family!

  199. Suze Zee said:

    I cried while reading this article because it has happened to my family.
    All any of us can do is to ensure that we live with compassion for others. We only have control over our own actions but perhaps our actions can be an example to others.

  200. If you interrupt a funeral procession in Queensland you are breaking the law. Luckily there are not many of those these days as the major cemeteries have chapels where they do the services and most people are unaware of that law.

  201. Catherine Rotte-Murray said:

    Beautiful piece and I can only empathise. In Ireland we generally have great respect for the dead and a funeral procession will always be accorded dignity and respect and pedestrians will usually bless (cross) themselves when a funeral cortège is passing, regardless of the religion or not of the deceased. Cars would never overtake and always yield to a hearse even if it’s a lone hearse maybe en route to collect the remains from a hospital mortuary.
    In fact, in Ireland ppl say we do death really well, with a three day funeral from waking the dead at home or in the funeral director’s chapel/ room, to the church or civil service and burial or cremation. Then it’s back to a hotel or the house for a meal and celebration of the life of the deceased by their family friends and loved ones, reminiscing on the good times.

  202. Susan Westfall said:

    Wow. So perfectly expressed. This should be taught in schools, if not at home.

  203. well said, I work in the funeral industry and we see it here all the time too, people have no respect, they are too wrapped up in their own lives to show any concern, compassion or respect for others, what a world we live in.

  204. So true

  205. Carol Srajer said:

    You have put into words what many feel and didn’t know how to say. You truly where you are supposed to be..God Bless you my young Friend…

  206. Martin Altria said:

    I understand this all too well, as a friend missed the last few minutes of his wife dying in hospital after a fatal car crash whilst he patiently waited for a hearse and entourage to cross the road into the Cemetary a few cars ahead ! Not everyone is cold hearted to ignore others but sometimes it isn’t lunch that is missed !

    • I’m sorry for your friend’s loss. There are always worthwhile and important exceptions. I just doubt that the man who gave the finger to grieving parents was among them.

  207. Debra H said:

    People are just so hateful and have lot all respect for one another!!! They also have gotten spoiled and lazy and don’t even actually know the rules of the road anymore.. like cutting out over a white solid line to cut you off while entering a freeway, pulling over for emergency vehicles and FUNERALS!!!

  208. katie remacle said:

    Yes I too was taught to stop or go the side of the road when either a funeral is going by or if a Patrolman has someone pulled over, Our Priest tells everyone in Church to pay your respect to the dead and turn your lights on before leaving the church. I have always done this

  209. Penni Howard said:

    I know the pain of the parents and I don’t know any of you but I will apologize for all the rude, inconsiderate, people that interrupted your procession for your daughter. People are so wrapped up in themselves until they have no feelings for anyone else. So sad and so sorry.

  210. Stephanie Williams said:

    This is just beautifully written thank you!!! I was always raised to pull over and stop…. To allow them time to go on together while you still wait that extra minute sending your love to that family! I’m sorry this happened… I hope they feel this pain one day and realize the disrespect they have shown to someone so young…. God bless!

  211. Very well said. I remember when my father passed away 10 years ago. As the funeral procession was on the way to the cemetery, 1 car out of 5 in the incoming traffic lane stopped and pulled to the side of the road. I saw the gentleman driving that vehicle even remove his hat and dry tears from his eyes. You see, my father had done taxes for over 600 people in his 30+ career and that man was one of his clients.

    I’m disgusted by the people who think that where they are going is more important than a family who is never going to have one last hello, hug, kiss, smile from their loved one.

  212. Bunny Finney said:

    Perhaps it is time to pray for those who were never taught to understand and be kind.

  213. Vickie Meinen said:

    We’ve had this conversation a few times recently. It used to be that a funeral procession was lead by an officer, all headlights were on, and everyone knew what it was.In this day and age, EVERY car has their headlights on all the time – so this no longer draws the attention to what is going on. I wasn’t aware that flashing lights should be on. No one gave us that direction when we left the funeral home a few weeks ago for that final ride. And some in the procession didn’t know if they were to stop at the red light or keep going. There is only one hears in the lead, so if the procession is long, how would you know? Again – in the long ago past, an officer would have been at every light, directing traffic. Yes, there are plenty of jerks in the world. But in this instance, in this day and age I would guess – they didn’t know.

  214. Sid Klynstra said:

    Unfortunately, within our province and many others, funeral processions are expected to follow the same traffic laws as the regular public and vehicles not stopping for stop signs and traffic lights are subject to being ticketed, unless the funeral home has requested assistance by way of an escort or traffic control and even that is not guaranteed. In a city of 15,000 and three funeral homes, the funeral homes have dealt with inconveniencing the general public by having chapels at the graveyard, accessible to any and all families who have suffered the loss of a loved one. If one chooses to use a home church instead, be prepared to recognize the rules of the road. Accept the fact that times have changed and even in death, get on with respecting the living as well.

  215. A Harding said:

    Thank you Pastor for those words of grace. It seems, asthe scripture wants; hearts of the people certainly wax cold in these latter days. It’s unfortunate but here we are.
    We’ve forgotten how to respect and love one another.
    I saw a sign on a building today that simply said; ‘Hello Human Kindness’. I thought, wouldn’t that be lovely. Just a little human kindness goes a long way.
    Just a little patience with one another, a smile, a wave , a phone call or a hug.
    This is simple human kindness that could carry a person through the day or even save someone from death. You never know what a stranger is going through. They could very well be on the brink of giving up, running away or even suicide.
    It could even be your own loved one. We reap what we sow. So to all those who were impatient with the funeral procession, remember it could be you swallowed up in grief or even in the casket.
    Next time, take time to show a little human kindness

  216. Stephanie said:

    I completely agree and have respect for those who have passed away. I’ve lost 4 parents and sitting vigil with the fifth right now as she is in Hospice in my home. It will happen yet again soon. However, I just have to say one thing, which I am certain will receive plenty of controversial responses. We stop for the dead, but no one stops for the living. Do you stop for that ambulance who is trying desperately to get to the hospital to try to save my dad? How many ambulance accidents are there due to impatient power suit guys and late lunch-date people? I have a nephew who is an ENT and he has given me many examples of people they have lost in the ambulance because they simply could not get there quick enough. Or he could not get to the accident sight quick enough because no one would break their place in line for fear of missing that next light. I so understand and respect the grieving. It’s not for the ones who have passed we are showing our respect for – they are hopefully dancing on the streets of gold with their Lord and Savior. The respect is for those they left behind. I see far more people pulling over for the funeral procession than I see for the ambulance. How about we work to keep some of those here a little longer so you and I can enjoy them a little longer and not have to worry as soon about that funeral procession. So…..now bring it on.

  217. The difference a small mid-western town makes when you raise your children is often debated. Never thinking about living anywhere else but the “big city” I personally saw what the difference was when my mother passed. As the funeral procession for my mother pulled off the main highway our limo driver stopped to wait for the police escort that had been requested, I told them it wasn’t needed. As the procession started on cars pulled to the shoulder of the road, people didn’t drive on even though they had the green light, no one drove through the procession. My grown daughters riding with us asked, “mom why is everyone stopping?” “Respect” I said. My oldest daughter moved to a small town soon after that. We followed to a small town before retirement. I wish I’d raised my family in a small town.

  218. Sandra Gindlesperger said:

    So true had this happen at a funeral for my Aunt. People have no respect anymore. I lost so many love ones and would be very upset if this happened. Specially when I lost my husband my dad, my sister in law, my cousins. So please people think before you react.

    Broken hearted widow

  219. Your words are moving and true. My calling is to be a funeral director and I am proud to be living that ministry. Would you consider giving permission for me to share your words and message with others in our community? If so, may I reprint and distribute your article? Your article would always be shared freely (never for compensation). Please let me know your thoughts and thank you for this gift that you have shared.

  220. Debbie Rhyder said:

    We always pulled over to the side of the road for a funeral procession.
    Did we know the person, their name, race, religion?
    No, it was called respect. I still do this to this day. It was how I was raised.

  221. Rebecca Bonat said:

    Amen. In Oklahoma, we too stop traffic for a funera l precession. With both parents funerals. We admired several military and veterans who saluted. Many people had their head bowed. Some even waved. But there were a few who we noticed that either didn’t understand our funeral procession procedures. Overall people respected our time of grief.

  222. Betty Bennett said:

    We have seen the decline in compassion and respect in our society and never so rudely expressed than during a funeral procession. What we did was tie up both lanes of traffic by having someone in the procession pull into the second lane and not allow the intruder to proceed beyond the last car. This kind of callous behavior is only a sign of the times. What you wrote was beautiful and self explanatory but again, there is definitely moral decline and it is blatantly expressed during funeral processions.

  223. I was amazed at my grandfather’s funeral to see how long the processional was and how the motorcycle cops stopped all side traffic at the stoplights to let the line continue on uninterrupted. It was a beautiful and wonderful thing.

    Congress for a few years required all new cars to have daylight running lights and my instant reaction to hearing of the law was, but then how will people know to respect a funeral procession? Or when there is one, rather than just a bunch of random cars with DRLs? The law was repealed but the cars from those years still have them. Just a side thought as to a contributing factor in people’s ignorance now.

  224. Georgianna said:

    My mother has been gone for 22 years, her daddy just a couple more, but time after time, over the years my children saw on relative after another pass away. While I have always told them that cutting through the funeral procession was a wrong and rude thing to do. But I believe that seeing, first hand people stopping by the the side of the road, people stopping what they were doing in their yards to pay respect to whoever it is in the procession. After my mother died, my daughter made a point to say, “Look at all the people stopping and standing, just for Grandma.”

    We have become so rush from point A to point B, we forget that there is someone in that hearse that is going to be missed. I hope that this next generation will learn from people like you, what matters most.

    Thanks for posting this.

    Georgianna Miller
    Louisville KY

  225. Reblogged this on MourningAmyMarie and commented:
    This post spoke to my heart.

  226. Overall, I agree, but I’m wondering how you feel about a particular situation. A funeral procession heads up the highway, with the normal distance of miles between exits, at 45 miles per hour (in order to ensure everyone easily stays together). There is, of course, no way to tell if they are going to the next exit or two, three, five, or ten exits down the road. Traffic is held up and no one wants to pass. I passed (they were on the right, of course, and I was on the left on this two lane – in that direction – interstate highway). I stop for funeral processions and don’t might waiting, but this situation seems different. There is, of course, no disrespect intended and there is no danger like there is when people cross through a procession. And, of course, my passing does not hold up the procession.

  227. Well said! People are to impatient. They don’t stop to think or be conciderate of others. When we were young, that was one of the things instilled in our heads! Respect the living as well as the dead.

  228. Caroline said:

    All I can say is “Amen, sister!”

  229. I disagree. It is not up to you to dictate to me how my time should be spent. If I wish to stop and show respect for the deceased, I can do so by attending the actual funeral itself. You do not stop traffic for ANY REASON EVER if you can help it, period. The roads are for getting where you’re going and NOTHING ELSE WHATSOEVER. These are supposed to be voluntarily acts, not compulsory ones. I would never presume to take your money away from you even for a noble cause, how is this any different? I submit that the one being “selfish” would be the one interfering in my life and involuntarily stopping me from getting where I’m going when I didn’t know the person from Adam.

  230. I don’t think this is an example of an actual event, but I assume is meant for us to ponder, reflect and show respect for an occurrence like this. There are always self absorbed people in this world who care nothing for the grief of others.

  231. Don’t know and not making excuses,but I hope out of consideration and or respect I would hope and pray people wouldn’t pass and or cut in and out or pull over for a funeral procession! I do look at one possibility maybe they were trying to get to the hospital for an emergency or some one was already there do to sickness accident. If that was the reason I hope you or your loved survived, if you have my condolences! If not for emergency then shame on you! When you are in that line taking a loved one to their final resting place, I hope people are not as rude and unrespectful as you! GOD BLESS!

  232. I can relate..at age 30 I lost my husband to cancer,left behind with 2 little children the pain leaves you wondering how on earth you can move on,so when you see traffic at a stop on the way to the grave well I found myself thinking it would be so much easier if I could be in the other cars then as soon as the funeral line was done I could go home back to normal,well It never happend NORMAL I MEAN…so for thoses that have a problem showing respect to stop for the few min.feel free to get upset but when it’s you wondering why the traffic won’t stop for your family at that moment when your PAIN is so powerful that you feel like dieing yourself..REFLECT to the day when you got upset that you had to stop for a long line of BLACK cars with PURPLE FLAGS..

  233. Being Woven said:

    Amen! Thank you for saying these things and putting into words what I, what many others, have thought at moments like these. Thank you so much.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  234. Kathleen said:

    Beautiful. ..food for thought for many I hope and pray…

  235. Elizabeth said:

    To the grieving, it is inconceivable that the world keeps going when their world stopped. They cannot understand how the rest of the world keeps spinning, not aware that it has lost something precious, when their world will never be the same. They will go through the coming weeks and months and maybe years with a hole in their gut that will be virtually invisible to everyone who passes. But for this day, this moment, they are seen. And if their grief doesn’t stop the world, at least it should stop traffic.

    This is almost word for word what was going through my head as I stood in my fiancés Nana’s kitchen on the corner of 114 and 237 less than 12 hours after he passed away in 2003. It’s amazing how some things remain so clear, even after all this time.

    Thank you for a wonderful heartfelt article.

  236. I so appreciate your words. It has nothing to do with North or South it has to do with being kind toward other human beings. Respect for others seems to becoming a thing of the past. So sad.

  237. Michael Viehman said:

    Beautifully expressed… When I was a small child, my father was walking me down the street to have a Coke at Slick’s drugstore in Steelville, MO and Dad stopped, faced the street and had his hand over his heart as a funeral procession passed. So did everyone else on the street. When he explained it to me, I asked if he knew the deceased. He said, “No, but you always show your respect.” I have thought, since then, that it was just a small town thing until I buried one of my FD brothers in St. Louis and some stopped on the highway when the procession drove by with Mike taking his last ride on the pumper on the way to Jefferson Barracks Cemetery. I have taught my son the same…

  238. Wow, I guess everyone is not taught to RESPECT Funerals. I was taught to stop and turn off my radio.

  239. Jeff Graham said:

    Having been to the funerals of my grand-parents, parents and even my oldest son I know how the family feels. I grew up in a small village in western New York and everyone I knew showed respect for each of my loved ones. I cannot imagine the feeling of someone who is visited with disrespect during a funeral procession. It was not part of my upbringing to “just go on with my life” when I saw/see a funeral procession go by. I feel sorry for those who have lost their humanity towards others just to better their own life in one way or another. I’m not even sure if disrespectful covers their actions, maybe ungodly is more like it. Bless them for they no not what they do!

  240. I have a question. But first let me say that I ALWAYS stop and pull over. Even if I’m on the interstate and the funeral prosession in on the other side driving north and I’m heading south I will pull over. And not many people will pull over if the are on the interstate heading in the opposite direction. I was raised with respect and morals. And I’ve been in many processions unfortunately and one time wasn’t sure where the burial site was. And we didn’t have an esscort and the light turned red as I was coming up to the light the people on the other side wouldn’t let me go and I got lost due to a break in the chain and by the time I figured out where I was going I had to sit in the car and wasn’t able to attend the burial be a useful I was late (due to people breaking the chain) so I sat in my car so I wouldn’t interrupt the burial that has already begun. I just wanted people to understand (before I asked a question) that I will always respect a person’s final ride with their family and pull over and say a prayer for the grieving family.

    As for my question. My great grandmother died back in 2005 and from her town in rainsvilles alabama to Guntersvilles alabama is about 45 mins or so (they lived in rainsvilles all their lives, however wanted to be buried in Guntersvilles at the cemetery by the lake where their daughter and son in law had lakefront cabin which we still have, and it’s one of the most peaceful places on earth as well as breath taking and wonderful memories were shared). So the pastor told us that because it was such a long distance (45 mins) and went through a few different towns we would not be able to have an escort the entire way. However some of the towns we went thru and a police officer saw us the would stop what they were doing and block traffic and let us stay together through what seemed like a thousand red lights, and in other towns we had to fin for ourselves in trying to keep the chain together. As we came across one town another funeral procession approached us (now I was like 10 cars behind my great grand mother in the hurst) and I noticed that the man driving the hurst pulled over on the side of the road to honor the other procession going the other direction. It was a police chief or fireman chief (someone of high ranks) the had the fire truck with the casket on it and many many many police officers that were from all over the state of alabama (city cops and troopers), as well as cops from Tennessee, Georgia and many many fire trucks alongside with family and friends, I would say up towards 200 to 300 vehicles in that prosession and it took about 30 mins to sit through it. My heart went out to all the people in that procession and I said a prayer for the family. And I will admit is was really amazing to see all the cops and fire trucks that came from near and far. And as I was sitting on the side of the road along with my great grandmother and all of her family (we had about 50 cars) at first I actually was wrapped up in seeing all the policeman and fire trucks that came from near and far and had all their lights on and then after they passed and the other 20p cars of family and friends that followed behind I was thinking to myself why did we have to stop was my great grandmother’s finial ride with her family just as important? And it kinda of upset me that my great grandmother had to stop her final ride she would ever make with her family for someone else’s family. It’s not that I was mad. All the years that has stuck out to me whays the right way to handle something like that (as I’m sure it doesn’t happen often).
    Like I said I respect a person’s final ride and never break up the families chain with their loved one and always say a prayer for them. And many times I get so angry at people that fly passed me as I pay my respects to the grieving family and I’ve been known to blocked cars so they can’t fly by and disrespect the grieving family and I will pull my car sideways and block both lanes so people cannot fly by I get cussed or some give me the finger. But it just upsets me to see people be disrespectful like that.
    So with that being said I was just wondering what people think is the right way to have handle the delicate situation we ran into with my great grandmother. Thanks for listening.

  241. I was taught to pull over if it can be done safely. Even had a phonecall from someone who saw me just to say “thank you, that meant a lot” i was just doing what i was taught. So think of that next time you don’t stop, it may be someone you know or their loved one.

  242. Elaine Weaver said:

    My Aunt’s procession was actually pulled pulled over by a State Trooper who was unaware that a procession actually had the right of way through a red light. The funeral director gave him what for and told him he would come to the State Barracks immediately after the internment to have a discussion with the Officer’s Sergeant. I would not want to have been that Officer.

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