Born and raised in Virginia, I’m a child of the south. A tradition in this part of the country is to show respect for the deceased by pulling to the side of the road when a funeral procession passes.
Yesterday as I drove through Staunton, the familiar sight of a police cruiser escorting a hearse followed by vehicles carrying mourners with car flashers going approached on Museum Drive. A narrow road that connects Richmond Road (Rt. 250) with Greenville Avenue (Rt. 11), those of us who met the procession immediately found places to pull off to the side of the road along the shoulders and in driveways to wait for the caravan to pass. Everyone.
As I waited, I wondered who has passed away, and thought of the family and friends in those cars on their way to the cemetery. It brought back memories of the numerous times throughout the years that my family had participated in the same ritual, and I reflected on the tradition and courtesy of motorists who paused in honor and respect, and police officers and others alongside the road who had stopped, removed their hats, and stood quietly waiting.
It is a tradition I hope never dies … that brief moment of respect shown by a stranger to a stranger.
Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell