For as long as humans have lived in organized communities, they have gathered when someone dies to acknowledge that passing. The nature of the ceremonies has varied over the millennia. In our day the traditions associated with paying a final tribute to the departed differ from society to society and from one religious persuasion to another. What is a constant, however, is a widely felt need to acknowledge that a person's physical life on this earth has come to an end.
In contemporary Iowa no group of people is more important in helping their fellow humans cope with the passing of a loved one than the state's funeral directors. Consequently, it is fitting that Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad designated May 14-18 as Iowa Funeral Directors Week.
In his proclamation, the governor takes note of the vital role funeral directors play. He points out that:
"Funeral directors are specially educated, trained and qualified to provide professional services when a family is most in need of capable and compassionate support;
"Funeral directors offer both professional services to families at the time of death or help in preplanning an individual's funeral; and
"Iowa values the ability of funeral directors to help the bereaved in coping with death, to answer questions about grief and to recommend additional resources to those having difficulty coping."
Branstad commended the "professionalism and dedication of funeral directors to their communities and our state."
The Messenger joins the governor in this sentiment.
Fort Dodge and many other communities throughout our region have the good fortune to be served by outstanding funeral directors. These compassionate and dedicated professionals help all of us address hard decisions during some the most difficult - and frequently emotional - days in our lives.