By Maurice Brandt, Fargo, Published September 12 2013
Letter: It was a horrible demonstration of disrespect, stupidity, crassnessWednesday, Sept. 4, I was privileged to be part of the funeral procession for a very well-known and well-respected man. There were, I am guessing, perhaps 30 cars in the procession. It was led by a hearse with twin flags on its roof proclaiming, “FUNERAL” in big, bold letters. All the vehicles in the procession had either headlights or emergency flashers on or both. We started out on North University Drive and went south on University down to Sunset Memorial Gardens, making this an easy route, as there were no turns to be made.
As is usual and normal for this long a procession, sometimes the lead vehicle, the hearse, makes it through a controlled intersection on the green light, but, because of the length, part of the procession gets to the intersection after the signal has turned red. I have been involved in many, many funeral processions and while I know it is technically illegal to do so, I also know that it is commonly accepted practice for the procession to slowly and carefully make its way through those red lights, and I know it is commonly accepted practice for cross traffic to allow this to happen.
Everyone in this procession was a good enough, smart enough driver (and this doesn’t always happen!) to stay very close to the vehicle ahead of theirs so anyone on a cross street could easily see this was a funeral procession. However, at several intersections where the hearse had gone through on green and some of us got there on the red signal, some drivers on the cross street found it necessary, for whatever reason, to creep out into the intersection, roll their windows down and either shake their fist at us, flip us the bird, swear at us, or all three.
As I witnessed this horrible lack of respect and demonstration of stupidity and crassness, I couldn’t help but wonder: Had any of these folks ever had someone in their family die? If so, would they have been hurt or angered if someone had shown such disregard for protocol and lack of respect for their loved one?
This is just one more example of how one of our expressions, “common sense,” is very inaccurate. Because of the dumbing down of folks all over, not just here in Fargo-Moorhead, it should be called “uncommon sense.”