A Funeral Procession

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Today was a surreal experience that broke my heart. I was returning from McMaster at about 11: 30 am when I joined the QEW off the 403 in Burlington and immediately started seeing police cruisers – five or six at a time – parked on the side of the road with the officers standing together beside their cruisers. Many other vehicles were also pulled over to the side of the road on both sides of the highway.

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After I had crossed the Burlington Skyway I drove under the Centennial Park overpass and saw more than a hundred, police, firefighters, and pedestrians lining the rail, standing in the rain. Every overpass from there until Beamsville had fifty, a hundred, even more standing on them. Fire trucks were parked on every bridge, with their lights going. The Maple Ave bridge in Grimsby looked like it had an entire public school standing on it.

I called Julie and figured out what was happening. Warrant Officer Dennis Brown, who died last week in Afghanistan, was returning home today by military motorcade. The demonstration of grief, and respect, and honour was very touching. I pulled over just before the Beamsville exit and filmed this with my cell phone:

St. Catharines Standard article

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When a Christian prays the Lord’s prayer they repeat the words of Jesus, “Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Jesus was the only man who had ever lived to see how the Father’s will actually is done in heaven. He viewed the evil of this world from a unique vantage point: Evil is the exception, not the rule in the Universe.

We see the evil in the world every day on the news; so often that it becomes commonplace. We think that this is the way things are done all over God’s creation. We have come to expect that cowardly men build bombs and leave them on the side of the road to kill greater men who give their lives to protect a peace that they so desparately want to destroy. We cannot allow this cowardly crime to become typical of the way humans act.

Let’s resolve to make the actions of Warrant Officer Brown typical. Let us guard the peace of the part of the world that we call home. Let us stand up and resist those who try to spread chaos and destruction. I pray that the world will find peace to be commonplace in traumatized countries like Afghanistan. Let the rule of law and democracy become routine in Afghanistan and in other war torn places all over the world. May God’s will be finally done on earth they way it always is done in heaven.

5 thoughts on “A Funeral Procession

  1. Beautiful and touching. What an amazing thing to be able to witness. We are blessed to live where we do. We’re blessed to have those who are willing to stand up for hope, peace and justice. May we all be courageous enough to take a stand even in our own homes, churches and communities!

    Thank you for sharing!

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  2. I witnessed this yesterday also, on my way to Brock. I didn’t know what was going on at first until I saw all the Canada paraphernalia and then I realized. This was a very touching post. Thank you.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this! I was very moved by this post, as well as the stunning photos of the journey home for one of “our own”. In the last couple of years, I have had the occasion to chat with various people about my brother being a part of the Canadian Military, his willingness to “go to war” and the fact that I stand by and support my brother in this decision. Time and again, the question is almost always asked, “How can you support war?”. I am quick to clarify – I don’t support the needless killing of innocent people. However, I support my brother and those like him who have made the choice to commit their lives to serving their country, both at home and abroad. They are doing something that I am not sure that I could ever do. I admire my brother and his fellow soldiers who are standing up and defending the right for every human being on this earth to experience peace.

    Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  4. These things break my heart. I don’t know how to express this in a way that someone will not take it the wrong way and be hurt and offended…

    I look at what we ask of these courageous men, and my heart bleeds. We send mere mortals to do God’s work. We vote for leaders who will put a priority on ‘defending peace’, but forget that they are men. We kiss our loved ones good bye, and throw them into the heart of evil, pain, and misery. There is no man who will change one thing in the Middle East, Africa, or Asia. There is no man who kills in the name of peace who will bring peace – every person, good or evil were all put into being by the Almighty God. Indeed, when countries or men are at war, and people are being killed, it is difficult to see where the evil starts and good begins. For that reason I feel like only God knows where his will lies, and if we go before his will…

    Would not our mission be more powerful instead of sending men we sent God? Can we not exact change by shrouding the people of that area and the conflicts there, here, and all nations in prayer that God would have his will.?

    I cry for every soldier that makes the journey that this man did, and I do feel that they are among the bravest of all men – for what they are willing to endure for our sake. We all let them down though when we send them out to make war or peace where we have not first sent God.

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  5. I appreciate your reluctance to see people perish on foreign soil and the debate of what a ‘just war’ might be is a complicated one to be sure. I agree: We should not go to places like Afghanistan by ourselves, but we cannot expect God to go some place we are not willing to go. We must go with God.

    I think it is important to make sure that in any discussion we are clear on the difference between the International Peace Keeping effort that the Canadians are involved with in Afghanistan and the U.S. led initiative in Iraq. Canada is enforcing International law in Afghanistan and I believe they are defending the Afghan people from extreme militants among their own people. I read this past summer A Thousand Splendid Suns, and The Kite Runner, both written by Afghan author Khaled Hosseini and it has transformed my view of Islamic militants like the Taliban.

    While Opium trafficking is tolerated, children starve to death, girls and women both are not allowed to go to school and both have few human rights.

    Irish philospher Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.” If Canada and other nations had not stepped in there would still be public executions for things like speaking against the government, for women speaking to men who weren’t their husbands etc.

    In all the dark and evil places on earth God is there. And he is waiting for us to show up! God already is in Afghanistan! And He is working with Canadian and Italian and British and American forces there. God has left us a mission on earth to be salt and light, and to be peacekeepers and to stand up for those who cannot defend themselves.

    By way of comparison what would have happened if Britain had not stepped up in 1939 and told the Nazis that enough was enough? We would be Nazi, or communist or some combination of the two.

    God has called us into the gap. We should go with God.

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