Why are the myriads of rural communities that dot the states considered by many to be the backbone of America? To answer that question, you need only look to West Virginia, where earlier this week a woman named Tonjia Ray-Tompkins discovered the answer for herself.
In a Facebook post uploaded Monday, she described watching in awe as a West Virginia State Police officer blocked off all traffic so that a funeral procession could reach the grave site — and then stood outside his vehicle respectfully saluting each and every vehicle as it passed by.
It’s this sort of old-time reverence that makes America’s rural communities so special that Ray-Tompkins recently relocated back to West Virginia after a hiatus living elsewhere.
“When I am so frustrated with living in WV & wondering why I came home. This is why I came home! Small towns that pull over and sit as your loved one is carried out of town to their resting place. The people on the streets even stood still as we passed,” she wrote.
“The processional was led by a state trooper who then blocked all traffic & saluted each car until we were to the gravesite! Oceana ……many people can say what they will but it will forever be my home!!!!! My roots! The people here are just different. Again lots of prayers needed for my Prichard family!”
It’s unclear whether she’s a member of the Prichard family, or whether she was speaking metaphorically.
Look at her post and the picture she included below:
When I am so frustrated with living in WV & wondering why I came home. This is why I came home! Small towns that pull…
Posted by Tonjia Ray-Tompkins on Monday, February 18, 2019
Such respect and reverence can’t always be found elsewhere, particularly in big cities. Suffice it to say, there’s a reason why America’s 30 rudest cities — including New York City, Las Angeles, Miami, Cincinnati, Chicago, Baltimore, Newark, etc. — are all bustling metropolitans.
As counter-intuitive as it sounds, the more packed together people become, the less connected they seem to be. This may stem in part from the fact that big cities attend to attract secular Democrats who view certain traditional values in a negatively light.
“Adults in urban counties, long aligned with the Democratic Party, have moved even more to the left in recent years, and today twice as many urban voters identify as Democrats or lean Democratic as affiliate with the Republican Party,” the Pew Research Center revealed last year.
The difference in values is especially apparent in regard to funeral processions.
Like The Mercury News noted in a report a couple years back, “Funeral processions get no respect from drivers stuck in big-city traffic.”
“Drivers cut into the procession, they block its passage, they lean on their horns,” the paper noted, citing the experiences of local funeral home worker P.A. Wilson. “They ignore the ‘Funeral’ signs on each car. They pay no mind to the blink of emergency lights or shine of headlights. They show no interest in making way for the passing of the dead.”
“People do not give respect to the funeral as they did years back,” Wilson said. “Everybody’s busier, and there are more cars. But people should still be showing respect.”
The rural residents of West Virginia would certainly agree. So would the teen basketball players from a small town in Louisiana who last year stunned the country by halting their game and dropping to their knees in respect as a funeral procession passed by:
If you hope to see something like this happen in a big city, you may have to wait a LONG time.
A cursory glance through Twitter shows numerous examples of big city drivers handling funeral processions in the rudest of ways:
People in Chicago are so fucking rude!!!!!!! Its against the law to pass a funeral procession and all these bitches are passing us. Disrespectful as hell.
— T? (@omgterawtf) November 24, 2018
Husband was driving in a funeral procession in Miami. Random drivers were cutting in the procession line! #disrespectful #tacky #rude
— Miss Janice (@realmissjanice) October 21, 2014
My 1000th tweet about New York drivers: if you cut off a funeral procession to get to another lane you’re just the biggest asshole possible
— DavidM (@davm527) October 8, 2018
Small town funeral cars coming the other way stop & pull over for funeral procession.
Big city funeral cars cut into funeral procession.
— Christopher (@Chrstoph1369) December 14, 2016
People in big cities on the other side of the street won’t even stop for the funeral procession of Muhammad Ali. #disrespectful
— Chris Rose (@ChrisRoseBBN) June 10, 2016
It’s no wonder Ray-Tompkins is so glad to be home. Like Dorthy once said, “There’s no place like home.” Especially if that home is in the backbone of America.
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