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Country united in grief and gratitude in fond farewell

A Cross the land, people queue to pay their last respects and offer flowers for late king.

TEAR-EYED and aggrieved, loyal subjects across the country poured out their heartfelt love and respects for His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, offering sandalwood flowers in humble obeisance. 
They presented their final tributes to the former monarch at numerous replicas of the Royal Crematorium and at sandalwood flower pavilions yesterday while the Royal Cremation was held yesterday in Bangkok.
From all parts of the country, braving the occasional rains and the scorching sun, thousands of black-clad mourners formed long queues throughout the day, waiting for their turn to lay flowers at the designated venues, mostly provincial landmarks from city halls to famed temples.
Among them were hilltribe people from villages including Doi Pui and Khun Chang Khien near the Phuping Palace in Chiang Mai, where the late monarch, in his younger years, spent a great deal of time working on development to help improve their quality of life.
The ethnic hill people travelled 30 kilometres from their villages and joined a crowd estimated at 100,000 at the province’s International Exhibition and Convention Centre. 
Deputy Chiang Mai Governor Phuttiphong Sirimat said 50,000 citizens and volunteers had already assembled in the morning, and they were asked to wait in 128 tents for their turn to lay ceremonial flowers before the replica. Chiang Mai authorities had prepared 1 million funeral flowers for distribution at the replica crematorium and other designated locations.
Further away in the northernmost province of Chiang Rai, 17 ethnic tribes joined with Chiang Mai folk in paying respects to the late King. They had also been recipients of help from King Rama IX, who travelled through the rugged terrain to meet them and helped improve their quality of life.

Country united in grief and gratitude in fond farewell
“We feel deep gratitude to His Majesty, who spent his time and life travelling through rough and dangerous roads to see us and help us,” said one tribal leader, as he joined the ceremony at the province’s old airport, where a replica of the Royal Crematorium was erected for mourners.
In other northern provinces like Phayao, Nan and Phrae, local residents came together to pay respects to the late King at the designated venues.

Country united in grief and gratitude in fond farewell
In Phayao, tens of thousands joined in a solemn observance of the royal funeral from early morning. Governor Narong Rojanasothorn said the ashes of sandalwood flowers would be sprinkled in the province’s grand lake Kwan Phayao.
In the Northeast, mourners similarly thronged the venues to pay tribute in major provinces.
In Khon Kaen province, residents expressed their love and loyalty to the late King by placing funeral flowers in tribute to the late monarch. Estimates placed the number of people paying tributes at Wat Pa Seng Arun in Muang district in the thousands.  Country united in grief and gratitude in fond farewell
Noen Chai villager Choy Meemareung said she had camped outside the temple’s screening point since 4am to get near the front of the queue. 
Choy said she felt a deep gratitude for the late King’s great work for the country and Thai people throughout his seven-decade reign. 
“I will use His Majesty the late King’s teachings as my guideline to live a good life with self-sufficiency,” she said.
In Loei, Nakhon Ratchasima and Udon Thani provinces, an estimated 50,000 people placed funeral flowers in honour of the late King.
Many in Loei went through the solemn procedure with tears in their eyes. Government officials, state employees, businessmen and students took part in rites at the provincial hall, chaired by Governor Chaiwat Chuenkosum. 
In the East, the West, and the South of the country, the mood was very similar.
Braving the scorching sun, mourners in Rayong province paid their final respects to His Majesty at Sri Mueang Park in Muang district.
The flower-laying rite began at 9am. Mourners formed long lines to await their turn. They were government officials, monks, the disabled, the elderly and the general public. Those waiting in the queue included people in wheelchairs and many parents with children. Most mourners could not hold back their tears.
In other provinces, including Chon Buri, Kanchanaburi, and as far as southern Prachuab Khiri Khan and Phuket, mourners joined long queues despite the rains and the heat with the sole determined purpose – to place sandalwood flowers and pay their respects to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who for his entire life had worked for the Thai people.

Published : October 26, 2017