Friday, August 31, 2012

Tears dropped in morning showers - When the President's body was moved from 37 Military Hospital

AUGUST 9, 2012 (Page 32/65) A unique spectacle played out Wednesday morning at the 37 Military Hospital when rain showers appeared immediately the mounted squadron of the Ghana Army, flying aloft the flags, took the first step to accompany the hearse of late President J. E. A. Mills from the entrance of the 37 Military Hospital to the Castle. At exactly 8:20 a.m., the weather changed giving way to rain showers which fell for less than 10 minutes. Although it reportedly rained in some parts of the city and the country, those who witnessed the 37 Military Hospital spectable, described it as a good omen. The mounted squadron in ceremonial attire, accompanied the hearse which had earlier around 7:00 a.m. left the hospital to the private residence of the deceased President. The officers stayed behind with the horses and waited for the hearse’ arrival. Scores of mourners including hospital staff, patients and members of the general public stood at both sides of the road to observe the procession. Horns blurred with unique sounds to signify the death of an important personality. The continuous presence of the horses at the hospital premises gave observers the indication that there was the likelihood the hearse would be returned to the hospital. That indication attracted more mourners. It was a moment of sorrow and grief as tears rolled down the eyes of observers when the late President’s hearse arrived. The mournful scene at the hospital could be likened to the scenarios that played out at the hospital when the public thronged there after the bodies of 126 soccer fans had been deposited following the May 9, 2001 stadium disaster. Armed men were positioned at both the entry and exit points of the hospital to maintain law and order. Observers obediently stayed at bay and viewed the procession from a distance. The funeral of the late President also brought activities at the country’s judiciary to a halt. Only one court out of more than 10 courts sat at the Cocoa Affairs Court in Accra today as judges and staff of the Judicial Service had moved to the State House to pay their last respect to late President Mills. Meanwhile, majority of market women at Makoka, “Kwasia Dwaso”, Rawlings Park and the Central Business District of Accra wore black and red clothes to signify their mourning state. Some set up sound systems and played dirges at loud volumes, while majority sat behind their wares and solemnly pondered over the death of the President. In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the women who sold foodstuffs said they had recorded low sales while those who vended funeral cloths, pictures of the deceased President, DVDs of his life and achievements, and other funeral kit made a windfall. Food vendors were among those who recorded low sales. According to the vendors, most of their regular customers had declined to purchase food because they had lost appetite. The late President died on July 24, 2012 at the 37 Military Hospital barely 72 hours after celebrating his 68th birthday. He is expected to be laid to rest on August 10, 2012.

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