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Old 12-28-2013, 08:59 AM   #1
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Roadside Memorials

Is this as popular in other parts of the country as it is in California? I started seeing simple crosses a few years back planted on the roadside at sites of deadly accidents. Now, these memorials have grown into amazing proportions which include hundreds of objects, and even lighting! I've started collecting photographs of these ad hoc memorials. I found this one yesterday in Needles, Ca.
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:08 AM   #2
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We see them here in Canada also, and I would guess all over the US.

I have mixed feelings about them.

I can see why people who have lost close friends or relatives might wish to do this, but I wonder where it will lead to over the years - it will be a bit depressing if anywhere we drive our roads are lined with them.

I suppose though that the reality is that for the most part, after some years, they will no longer be maintained by the individuals who placed them, and will deteriorate and disappear.


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Old 12-28-2013, 09:16 AM   #3
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I think it's Montana where they officially put up a white cross at every site of a fatal crash. I guess it's an awareness thing.

The ones people put up on their own usually fall into disrepair. I don't think I'd want to be memorialized by a pile of trash on the side of the road.
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:37 AM   #4
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We see them here in BC but nothing as elaborate as the picture you posted. Usually you'll just see a white cross and some flowers. My concern with the memorials like the one in your picture that it becomes a distraction, removing eyes and focus from the road where they belong.
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:53 AM   #5
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This is what Cemetery's are for. Go there and morn in peace and quiet, and have your site maintained by the church or other organization that manages the site.
These ad hoch memorials along busy highways are a danger and distraction, when people stop to look at, or maintain the site. There is one close to home that is just a collection of rusted toys and rotten teddy bears and I am thankful it is not if front of my home.

I think the State or Province should charge a fee to ensure the sites are maintained. That way it might be cheaper to buy that Cemetery plot.

With the ability today to mark locations of interest electronically, there is no need to have this type of display along a public roadway.

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Old 12-28-2013, 09:57 AM   #6
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In the late 1960s I was going to college in Southern Indiana and the state put up simple white crosses at the scene of fatality accidents.

This one road from Evansville to Louisville was full of them.

I know where my grandparents are buried, up in St. Louis but my grandsons have no recollection of them other than photographs. I have taken them out to my parents' grave (in veteran's cemetery here in SGF).

It seems they don't have the attachment to graves like my parents' generation did. My wife and I still decorate on decoration day.

As for us, when we go we will be cremated and our daughter-in-law will mix our ashes with some cement and make garden stepping stoned that will be portable and when and if they move the stones will move with them.

I don't think that sounds morbid.
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Old 12-28-2013, 10:09 AM   #7
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In the 60s and 70s, Indiana put white crosses at all fatal accident sites to hopefully raise awareness on the less stellar narrow twisty windy highways in Southern Indiana. Fortunately a few of these "death" roads were upgraded to 4 lane highways over time.
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Old 12-28-2013, 10:22 AM   #8
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We would like to believe that there are places where there are no memorials needed but if we or only one person needs the comfort of knowing that there loved one will never be forgotten then it is not hurting a damn thing so if a simple cross or picture and flowers and lights let them do it! Just my opinion!
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Old 12-28-2013, 11:13 AM   #9
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It's not something I'd consider doing but I know that these memorials give comfort to some. I'd like to think that they'd be kept discrete and in good taste because if they're not then they risk the Agency responsible for the road bringing in some draconian rules that might prevent them altogether.

They've become more common at the side the roads in the UK, too. Most are simple crosses and flowers but some get out of hand; I can think of one that was largely removed by the police because it was getting to be a real distraction to drivers.
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Old 12-28-2013, 12:23 PM   #10
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From my business travels, I have seen it across the country (US). Perhaps not as elaborate as the one posted to start this thread. I imagine most are like me in that they take note that it is there, reflect on the loss of life, and take it as a reminder to drive safely and be aware that others may not be. I don't ever remember trying to slow down, look at details, or being distracted by it. I must admit that photos, etc. may be a little too much and perhaps could distract a driver. That said, we should ban advertising signs on the roadways. Who cares if Ruby Falls, Cracker Barrel, or Big Jakes Fuel Stop is coming up in ten miles?
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Old 12-28-2013, 12:39 PM   #11

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I tend to respond to the ones I can relate to...

If it helps to bring closure to the effected Families I have no problem...

In some jurisdictions the the powers that be will erect a simple cross at the scene of a fatal accident, the PC police have put the kabash on that in many areas.

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Old 12-28-2013, 12:41 PM   #12
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Very common in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
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Old 12-28-2013, 01:32 PM   #13
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..and Texas.

Many times the deceased is "undocumented" and the body abandoned to "civil authorities". So these "makeshift" memorials show up because there is not a requirement to "comply in perpetuity" to less than "civil" behavior by the thought cops.

Grief is experienced differently by every person. I have seen the range of emotions and lack thereof. Having performed many Wakes, Rosaries, funerals, I can tell you, it is difficult no matter who the person was.

The families are often illegally in the US and that raises alarms for the paper pumpers to hound. I have witnessed "officials" at funerals, taking pictures, etc. they could do the same on roadsides, but more difficult to arrange times for the photo shoot.
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Old 12-28-2013, 02:08 PM   #14
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The ones I saw first, and that are probably best for what they should be, are round, one foot diameter ivory painted metal signs that simply have the decedent's name and date of death, with the reminder to drive safely.

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