Monday, August 3

Sometimes

I was on a mission. I planned to quickly run into Home Depot to buy a couple of tiles for The De-Farfandaizing of the Fireplace and get right back to work. My To Do Piles were threatening to bury me alive if I didn't tackle them soon, so time was of the essence. I really wanted to back to my office in under half an hour.

As I came up to one of the most annoying intersections in the world, traffic halted, despite a green light. I immediately saw why; there were dozens of police cars parked in the road. It looked like they were surrounding the little tire store. Immediately, I thought, "DRAMA!" Was it a robbery? A shooting? Ooooooh, drama!

The thought of some sort of crazy going down in the middle of Surburbia was fun for a moment, but then the mission at hand came back to mind. So, I swung my car around a few rubber neckin' fools and made a little turn so I could back road it to the store.

My plot was foiled.

A police officer stepped into the intersection and signaled for everyone to stop. It wasn't until then that I realized it wasn't DRAMA! that was unfolding, but rather a funeral procession. There are several cemeteries in the area, and I knew they had to be headed to one of them.

As I sat in my little car, police cars began pouring past me. One after another after another, cars from several boroughs silently rolled past with their lights flashing. Several shiny fire trucks continued the procession, and then what had to be hundreds of vehicles, each with their headlights on and a little orange flag stuck to the roof. All told, the procession took over 15 minutes to drive past, even though they never once came to a stop.

As the procession first began, I wondered wistfully who had passed away. I thought maybe it was a retired police officer or fireman. As the seconds turned into minutes, I began to fall back on my usual tactic for making time pass when I can't go anywhere--I people watched. The people in the procession cars represented all walks of life. There were members of the military, donning their full dress uniforms. There were dozens and dozens of denim and leather-clad people riding atop motorcycles. There was an older man laughing as he chatted with his passenger. There was a woman crying, clearly struggling to pull herself together as she navigated her beat-up Chevy. There were people who were somber as they sat silently with their passengers. There was a guy chatting on his cell phone. There were children looking uncomfortable in their best clothes. As the people continued to pour by on their way to the cemetery, there were many clues to the identity of the person they were honoring.

When I got back to my desk an hour later, I gave Mr. Google those clues and asked him to figure out who the procession as honoring. It didn't take long to find my answer. It was Sgt. Ryan Lane, a 25-year old soldier who had been killed in Afghanistan. The son of a former police chief, he was given the full honors he deserved.

Sometimes life smacks you in the face and reminds you that there are things more important than a bunch of hostile To Do piles.

Sometimes it's time to sit quietly and show respect to those who have paid too high of a price.

Sometimes it's time to say thank you.

30 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:01 AM

    Excellently and eloquently put.

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  2. I would have been honored to be an extended member of the procession, kind of like you were. Nice post...

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  3. Awesome post. Absolutely. A fellow rugger is now a Pgh Police Officer. We worry about her every second of every day. :-)

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  4. Scottsweep12:08 AM

    I've only been to one such funeral so far. Even being in the military it is often hard to stop and remember things that you just want to forget. Maybe it brings my own mortality to close to home. Maybe it's that sometimes you realize that what everyone else sees as service and sacrifice and paying the ultimate price is a family losing a son or daughter without a good reason and that such a pain is far more than any family should ever have to deal with, heaven forbid it ever be my own.

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  5. Thank You for reminding me slow down and Thank those who give them selves for us everyday.

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  6. Thank you for posting that. It has been one of those days, and I needed a reminder that there are problems and sacrifices much greater than my own out there.

    (And what on earth does De-Farfanizing mean?!)

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  7. beautiful.

    and an excellent reminder for us to stop and smell the roses.

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  8. I hope more soldiers get the full honors they deserve. Every. Single. One.

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  9. Well said ma'am.

    Godspeed Sgt. Lane and thank you.

    It made me want to scream when they reported on the news that those maniac protestors might show up for his funeral. If I ever saw that, I'd need people to watch over my family for a few months while I was gladly doing my time.

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  10. Anonymous10:07 AM

    Yes indeed. Every so often we need a reminder that it really doesn't matter if the laundry piles up for another week, the floor stays gooey for another few days, the trash overflows for a few more days, or if we really need the pretty lace doilies right this minute...

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  11. great post and eye opener to be thankful for our freedom.

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  12. Awww, that made me very verklempt. Thanks for the reminder! How often we forget the sacrifices of others while we tred along in our own little lives...

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  13. Sometimes we do need reminders of these things. We've been getting them a lot lately in our family (two relatives diagnosed with bizarre tumors in the past month, one for the 2nd time) and stories like this. It's like a big smack in the face of Hey, Get Your Head Out of Your Self-Absorbed Ass, Already.

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  14. I'm glad that the soldier had such a wonderful turnout. It sounds like he touched so many people's lives.

    Thanks for posting such a beautiful written reality check. I know it put things in perspective for me.

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  15. Beautifully written. What a reality check, in this crazy world to see something so poignant down to the way people were dealing with it. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Bulldog1:42 PM

    The leather clad folks on their motorcycles were members of the American Legion's "Patriot Guard Riders". These veterans volunteer their services to the families of fallen servicemen and women during funerals and memorial services both to pay their respects to a fallen brother/sister, and to try to help "shield" the families from the despicable & disgusting protesters who feel the need to destroy the dignity of the sad occasions.

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  17. Wow.

    I now have chills from head to toe.
    Thank you for the reminder

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  18. Amen . . . times 10.

    "Sometimes life smacks you in the face and reminds you that there are things more important than a bunch of hostile To Do piles." Can I print this on a t-shirt?

    *rips up To Do lists*

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  19. Thanks for sharing this, and God Bless Sgt Lane.

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  20. Thank you for the reminder.

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  21. Sounds like Sgt. Ryan Lane had a LOT of friends and loved ones! Another reason why I hate war...

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  22. Oh, only 25 :( Makes my heart hurt. May he rest in peace.

    Great reminder, honey. Beautiful post.

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  23. This made me cry.

    But you're so right, there really are more important things.

    God Bless the soldier and his family.

    Hallie

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  24. Anonymous11:07 AM

    Thank you for remembering that freedom is not free. It comes with a high cost for many who give all for others. Even those who despise them and disrespect their deaths.

    Ditgramps

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  25. Anonymous9:21 AM

    This was my brother-in-law. Thank you fro posting.

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  26. I'm all teary eyed.
    Love this post. Love that photo.
    It is a shame that all of the soldiers do not get the full honors that they so deserve. It's nice to see it when they do.
    My prayers go out to Sgt. Lanes family and friends.

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  27. Anonymous8:31 AM

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2009/07/25/watson.afghan.ultimate.sacrifice.cnn?iref=videosearch

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