I would like to add my personal moment of silence in thanking Spc. James M. Kiehl for his ultimate sacrifice. How can one put in words the true gratitude they feel for their freedom that is won every day from the sacrifice of another family’s son/husband/brother/father?
After getting an e-mail from Karie about a funeral procession that honored a fallen serviceman, Spc. James M. Kiehl, I decided to take Kristen’s advice (read it under the comments from my lemon post) and I googled the story. (Thank you for the forward Karie, I loved it)
I mostly googled it because I thought that the story was so sweet, I had to know if it was really true. Is there still such humanity in the world? According to the forwarded e-mail, it occurred in TN, and I wanted to be so honored to be surrounded by these good people.
Here is what I read about on Snopes. (an amazing site where you can check the origins of internet garble) So, the touching story is true. Spc. James M. Kiehl was killed in action, and the people of his hometown really gave him a true hero’s goodbye. The community members lined the streets from the service to the cemetery, standing in total silence with their hands on their hearts and waving flags.
Now, I would like to tear into the person who saw it fit to change the original e-mail. (which I am sure was not Karie) The part that so perplexes me was this sentence: “There is a lot to be said for growing up in a small town in Tennessee.” (compare this sentence to the original from the link above – “There is a lot to be said for growing up in a small town in TX”) This story didn’t take place in TN, but in TX. Why would anyone really feel the need to put their own state in there? As if this story wasn’t just as good if it happened in TX. I think that sometimes Tennesseans have a little bit of an inferiority complex. Can’t we all just be happy that the good people of TX can honor a man as good, if not better than us?
I know that the people of TX honored this man better than I did some person who was buried in Kingsport a few years ago. After reading Laura’s recent post about Southern traditions, I was reminded that I am not totally Southern. In fact, after I tell you the following story, you may wonder if my husband is either.
The first thing that came to mind after reading Laura’s post that if to be truly Southern, you have to appreciate the lack of sidewalks, I will never be Southern. I so miss sidewalks. In California people actually get out and walk, just for fun. You can’t do that here without worrying that someone will run you right over.
The other thing that Laura mentioned about being Southern is the ability to stop on the side of the road for any funeral procession. So, (Alice, focus, off soapbox, back to story) years ago LG and I decided to sneak away and catch a movie. It was a last minute decision and we found that a movie we wanted to watch was starting in just 15 minutes. It takes 10 minutes to drive from my in-laws to the theatre. We said goodbye to the fam and ran off. My in-laws live out in the country and you have to pass a cemetery on the way.
We were cruising along, glad to make it to the movie on time, when all of the sudden, we spotted a funeral procession ahead. There was a line of about 30 cars. Lucky for us, they were just turning into the cemetery, and they were lined up on the opposite side of the street. We thought and discussed that because they were so close to pulling in, we would be safe to just keep on our merry way. We thought very wrong. The front car (the hearse) decided that he needed to teach us a lesson. He yanked the wheel as to spin his car out in front of us while simultaneously flipping us the bird.
All I could think about was the poor deceased soul in back of the hearse. The decease’s driver seemed more concerned about these strangers on their way to what would be their only date in months than the person who may just come tumbling out of the back when he jerked the car like he did.
Now, you can all call me insensitive. And, LG and I both may need some lessons on funeral etiquette, but really, I don’t expect anyone to stop or get out of the way of the car that is taking me to my resting place. I especially hope that the driver of my hearse won’t pull out any offensive gestures in front of my posterity. Really, what good would it have done for us to just stop there? Did all of these people expect us to just stop in our tracks as they all so very SLOWLY pulled into the cemetery? It’s not like we needed to get out of their way.
I very much respect the deceased. May they all rest in peace! I have even volunteered beautifying cemeteries before, multiple times. I just don’t think that we have to pull off on the side of the road to show respect, and that, my brothers and sisters, makes me a Westerner. It is just so hard to give up that fast paced life sometimes. Really, when I am dead in a casket, I truly hope that strangers to me will go on living their lives as usual….especially if it means they don’t have to miss the previews!
And the quote of the day: You are alive. So live. ~ Tomi Miyasaki