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The value of a viewing and praying for the dead

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As a youngster I experienced the deaths of my paternal grandmother, a cousin who was killed in an automobile accident and a babysitter from my neighborhood who was killed in Vietnam. Of course, my parents required me to go to the viewings as a sign of respect for those people who were a part of my life. I did as I was told, but I never saw much sense in looking at a dead body. Over the years I attended many wakes and always wondered the same thing, why is it so important that we view our dead before burial?

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