As I write this post, the community of the City of Jersey City is about to commence the funeral rites for Police Officer Robert Nguyen. Around 8 AM, they were scheduled to begin the procession at McLaughlin Funeral Home on Pavonia Avenue and walk to the Armory on Montgomery Street.
The formal service, led by a team of six Buddhist monks (Nguyen and his family are Buddhists), is scheduled to begin at 9 AM. In addition to the traditional Buddhist rites, there will also be the addition of traditional police rites.
Had I still been living in Jersey City, I have no doubt that I would have attended both Carson's and Nguyen's wakes at least and probably funerals as well. That's the way Jersey City is: Jersey City is the largest small town there is (or the smallest large city, depending on how you look at it). It's a phenomena that mainly longtimers and natives understand. Despite its size and density, Jersey City in many ways carries the traits, the best and the worst (but mostly the best), of a smalltown where everyone knows everyone.
Given my distance and the fact that I only got up at 7:15 AM, I won't be there in person today. I am very cognizant that being there at the Armory for a police officer's funeral would bring me back to the experience of attending Domenic Infantes' funeral (my sister's high school classmate who was killed in the line of duty) and Glenn Cunningham's funeral (my good friend, a retired police captain and former US Marshal, who was mayor of Jersey City at the time of his sudden death). I wanted to be there, especially today, to support my friends who serve in the Police Department. I send my prayers and suppport to them and ask God to bless and strengthen them as well as the Carson and Nguyen families and friends.
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace, Amen.
May their souls
and all the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God
rest in peace, amen."