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Letter: What has happened to courtesy and respect for deceased veterans?

On Saturday, Jan. 11, family, friends, neighbors and residents of Dickinson gathered to celebrate the funeral of the former mayor and U.S. Navy veteran, Fred S. Gengler, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on West Broadway in Dickinson.

At the conclusion of the church service, military honors were given outside the church and on the street. On the north side of the street, the Honor Guard was lined up, consisting of the bugler, two flag bearers, a United States flag and a state of North Dakota flag, with a rifle squad of seven men and their commander — all in uniform — plus a member of both the Navy and Army in dress uniform.

On a stand in the street were the cremated remains of Mr. Gengler, the folded flag of our country and the funeral coach.

Approximately 150 people were on the church steps, the sidewalk and surrounding the family on the street. This is a similar scenario that takes place at other churches in the city for military honors for deceased veterans.

As the ceremony was about to begin, several west-bound vehicles drove through this ceremony. The east-bound vehicles approached, and with the pastor standing in the middle of the street and the funeral director on the east end, they drove around and through the area and waved, as if totally oblivious to what all these people were on the street for.

What has happened to common courtesy and respect? Several vehicles did approach and then slowed and went around the block to avoid driving through the area, so I’m sure most people know and are familiar with military honor rites.

If not, I hope they read this and explain to their families about military honors accorded to deceased veterans in our city, and they should either detour that block in front of the various churches where the ceremony is taking place or just stop and pay their respects.

The ceremony is not very lengthy. What is wrong with taking a few minutes out of a day to honor those who served our country?

Come on, citizens of Dickinson! How about a little courtesy, respect and honor.

Al Schwindt,