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'People need to slow down': Funeral home owner pleads for drivers to respect processions

A Virginia funeral home owner is pleading with drivers to have some respect for the dead.
(Getty Images)

ROANOKE, Va. (WTHR) - A Virginia funeral home owner is pleading with drivers to have some respect for the dead.

Sammy Oakey took to Facebook to call out motorists who speed past funeral processions. His post last week has been shared more than 3,000 times.

To the thirty-something man in the power suit who honked and forced his black SUV through our line… To the person who...

Posted by Oakey's Funeral Service & Crematory on Wednesday, January 8, 2020

He called out drivers who honk at funeral processions, speed by, or otherwise obstruct the path of the line of cars traveling toward the cemetery to bury a loved one.

"Perhaps you don’t know. Perhaps you didn’t recognize the hearse and the flapping flags on the first few cars. Perhaps you didn’t notice that we all had our lights on and our hazards flashing. Perhaps your mama never taught you to show respect to the dead by showing kindness to the grieving," the post read.

"You couldn’t know, of course, that the woman inside the hearse was only twenty years old. You couldn’t know that she leaves behind parents and siblings and a young husband and a one-year-old baby girl. You couldn’t know anything about the person in that hearse or the many people who followed. But you still could have stopped. You could have waited. You could have recognized that someone else’s pain was greater than your need to get to lunch."

“People need to slow down, stop, pause,” Oakey’s Funeral Home owner Sammy Oakey told WSLS-TV. "I think (people) need to realize this is a family going through a very emotional time and the connection that occurs between the cars going to the cemetery plays a huge part in the family’s feeling of warmth and tenderness."

Hundreds of people have commented on Oakey's post, some sharing their own stories of disrespect as they took part in a funeral procession. Others shared more uplifting tales of drivers stopping and even getting out of their cars to pay their respects to the deceased.