Letters to the Editor, July 17, 2019: Matters of respect

SOLEMN JOURNEY The funeral procession of Sgt. Elden C. Justus as it entered Arcata last Thursday. Tony Gonsalves | Union

Respect the procession

Recently I had the honor to be part of a funeral procession of a Korean War Hero that had been missing in action. It was a touching event to see people lined up along the roadway with flags showing their respect. There were even two Highway Patrol officers saluting as we passed. That sight brought tears to my eyes and I heard later that I was not the only one.

My sympathies to the family. I am pleased they finally got their loved one back after so many years.

I would like to thank the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office for the escort from the Humboldt County Line to Arcata. I would also like to thank my employer, Pacific Builders, for enthusiastically allowing me the time off for this special event.

As a child I remember seeing funeral processions but as an adult I can’t remember the last time I saw one. From what I witnessed during this procession, I have to assume not many drivers are familiar with them either so I thought I would give some helpful hints on funeral procession etiquette.

Tips for showing respect for a funeral procession:

• If you encounter cars with mourners, be polite, pull over, and wait for them to pass before proceeding.

• Show respect by not honking your horn, revving your engine, or acting impatient in any way. 

• Once the lead car has entered traffic, such as going through an intersection – the entire procession will follow without interruption. Even if their traffic light is red and yours is green, you must stop and allow the procession to continue through the intersection until all cars in the procession have passed.

• Don’t try to join the procession.

• Don’t cut into a procession.

It only takes a moment to show respect, imagine if it was your loved one in the hearse.

Carol Nelson
Blue Lake

The PLAZA’S NEW TREES weren’t intended for the ages, and are gone. KLH | Union

Just plant it

“When you look at the statistics of what’s happening to species, to rainforests, to forests of all kinds, it’s so overwhelming that it’s difficult to believe it. It’s utterly daunting. I wanted to tell a story about ordinary people who, for whatever reason, have that realisation about the irreversible destruction that’s happening right now and who get radicalised as a result. The book explores that question of how far is too far when it comes to defending this place, the only place we have to make a home.”

– From an interview of Richard Powers, author of The Overstory

“In my opinion the implications of our study are that we need to respect forests as humanity’s best ally to protect the climate and our life support system. Our study shows clearly that forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today”

– From a report published in Science this past July 4

A few weeks ago a friend of mine called to say that he had several small redwoods that needed a home. Later that afternoon, while strolling through the plaza I took a picture of the planter where McKinley once stood and texted – “I think I know a spot.” His reply – “I had the same idea.”

And so, choosing to bypass the committee, we just planted it. It took two bags of compost and five minutes. Pretty simple. Felt pretty good.

We knew the tree was likely to be pulled just as we knew its roots would only ever go a few inches deep before encountering the previous statue’s base – a 25 ton slab of granite. And yet we did so just the same, as something of a challenge. For what would it say about our community, ourselves and our real ability to deal with climate change if we could indeed help this little one to grow and thrive? And perhaps more significant, what does it say if we can’t?

There is no one solution to climate change, and possibly at this point, no solutions left at all, but the simplest and easiest thing that any one of us can do right now, right here, in our own backyard, is to plant a tree. And really, what better a symbol for Humboldt than a redwood?

That tree is gone, but perhaps someone might plant another?

Sadly, this story is not going away. Let’s see if maybe we can write a good ending.

Dave Reagan
Sequoia Sempervirens





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