The funeral of Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri (Retired) unfolded under unfamiliar conditions at the National Heroes Acre on Friday.
Where thousands usually teem to pay their last respects to national heroes , only a few came as Government, in accordance to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on Covid-19, kept the numbers low to curb the spread of the contagion that has claimed more than half a million people globally.
Unlike his fellow comrades who lie at the National Heroes Acre, Shiri’s body did not pass through Stodart Hall in Mbare, there were no choral groups, and only a selected few were allowed in at the top of the hillock where the heroes are buried.
The famous ZANU PF aligned Mbare Chimurenga Choir was not there to sing liberation struggle songs and perform their dances. There were no church choirs or Apostolic sect members who normally compete with the Police Band on Christian hymns.
Over their military fatigues, the pallbearers wore personal protective equipment, complete with goggles.
Instead of a gun carriage, the body was in a Doves vehicle, which is unusual of national heroes who are buried at the national shrine.
But there was a 17-gun salute and a fly-past befitting an Air Chief Marshal who served at the top of the country’s Air Force for more than two decades.
There was no laying of wreaths at the graveside as is the norm and his comrades in arms could only look or imagine from afar as the body of a beloved comrade was committed to mother earth.