General chatter - Roadside Memorials

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03-10-2007, 03:17 PM
This has bothered me for some time. I don't want to upset anybody either, but I live near very busy "fast" roads. Someone dies near us every year in a traffic accident. People have been placing memorials now that stand for years, they continue to re-stock. I am not against remembering the dead, I am not agaisnt placing flowers near the scene of the accident for a week or two, although I have told my family NEVER to do that for me. I do have a problem of placing flowers, crosses and "stuff" at that spot FOREVER! I think it is unsightly and distracting no matter how nice the memorial. Does this happen in your area of the world? How do you feel about it?

03-10-2007, 03:21 PM
Happens here in Arkansas. I remember a few years ago there was talk of a law banning these roadside memorials, because the memorials themselves tend to cause more accidents, with people slowing down to look at them and not paying attention to their driving. I don't think anything ever came of the proposal.

The road dept. does clean the memorials up every now and then, but it's a waste of their time, because they're back within the week usually.

I don't really like them. If someone I LOVED died in a traffic accident, I'd never want to drive by that place again, much less have a permenant/constant reminder of what had happened there!!!! That's just my opinion, though!

03-10-2007, 03:45 PM
I don't care for them either and yes it does happen here. They were trying to outlaw them here but no luck yet. They are distracting and in my opinion dangerous. I just don't think they are a good way of remembering. I too wouldn't drive by a place where a loved one was killed in an accident.

03-10-2007, 03:59 PM
We have them all over in Oregon too and they are very distracting. I've seen accidents almost happen, because of people slowing down trying to read what is written on the crosses. If it was my family member, I wouldn't want to go back and re-live the accident.

03-10-2007, 04:08 PM
Yeah, dont like them.

Here is the most outrageous part, when I lived in Texas there was a bad curve that had a fair number of them. The spot was bad because it was a blind curve with a side street AND it was on the way back from the lake so a high number of drunk drivers.

They decided to straighten the curve significantly, put in a light and put in warning lights (before the curve so you didnt come around and get a redlight in your face). Straightening the curve required blasting away large amounts of limestone cliff-face.

Loved ones protested because this project would destroy the memorials that were along the cliff. They thought keeping their crosses and flowers was more important than trying to prevent future tragedy.

03-10-2007, 04:14 PM
I guess I am used to them, because here in Texas they are quite common & I have never found them distracting. Usually they are put up once and then deteriorate over time, though I've seen a handful that were maintained.

ETA: If anything, they remind me to be more careful of my driving. There is one by a Wal-Mart I go to--the speed limit through there is 50 and it really needs another stoplight or two, and there's one I drive by every day on my way to work. I don't actually "see" them anymore--I noticed them once and that's it, but I know they are there and I need to be mindful of my driving.

03-10-2007, 04:17 PM
We have one near our house that acutally has a Christmas tree with lights on it -- that's still up. I would rather place a memorial somewhere my loved one liked to be, not where they suffered the most.

03-10-2007, 04:56 PM
My sister was killed in an automobile accident, a few days later when I for some insane reason went to the corner where the accident happened there was a memorial set up. We did not set it up nor did anyone we knew. My niece, her daughter ( 8 years old at the time ) wanted to put something there and she drew a picture and we went back and placed it there. I felt very bad for the people who lived in the house there having this happen in there front yard, then a memorial put there. I haven't been past there since it has been over 10 years. My husband went by once just in traveling and said there was still a candle and ribbon, we don't know why.

03-10-2007, 05:03 PM
We have them all over here and I've never been bothered with them. Sometimes they serve a purpose as to warn people that it's a dangerous stretch, to be careful. Other times, if enough awareness is brought to a particular trouble spot, the city/state will put up a stoplight or other traffic cautions to help alleviate the problem area.

03-10-2007, 05:48 PM
We have them all over and the majority of them last only a few weeks. The only one that stayed for a long time was a hit and run where a bicyclist died (they never found the driver). That one started out huge and dwindled to a small cross that lasted for another 2 years. It is now gone. While I personally would never build or want a memorial such as this, there are a few who ease their own pain by building or contributing to one.

03-10-2007, 08:09 PM
There are a lot of them here too. The memorials in lower income areas seem to last longer and the more ritzy neighborhoods have them only for a week or two (probably because the people w/more money won't stand for those eyesores in their neighborhoods). There is one near my son's school and it's been there for 2 years. Unfortunately, it's near a bus stop and someone keeps replenshing the stuff using plastic flowers, mylar balloons, stuffed animals, etc. The most disturbing thing to me is that friends or relatives gather around that place and drink--and leave their bottles and trash behind. Hello people? Does it not seem wrong to you to booze up at the scene of the accident when your family member died as a result of DUI???

There is also a dangerous stretch of road out in the country where there are numerous tragedies each year. Last year right after graduation 3 teens were killed in a crash. Some of their classmates went out the weekend after to visit the crash site and BAM! A new tragedy, 3 more victims. It's sad and it's disturbing and I don't agree with people keeping up the sites for longer than a few days.

03-10-2007, 08:45 PM
One of my best friends died about a week after graduation. There is to this day a memorial alongside the interstate where she died. It's far away from the road, back near a fence where it is mostly obstructed. You have to actually know it's there and look for it to notice it. That, I have no problem with because it's not an eyesore, and it's not noticeable to anyone but those who want to remember.

The huge ones alongside the road that blatantly scream "LOOK AT ME!" are the ones I have a problem with. Traffic is dangerous enough, and drivers are bad enough without that sort of distraction.

03-10-2007, 10:38 PM
Well, I personally can't see memorializing the place where someone died, just like I can't see celebrating the anniversary of their death. But if it eases someone's pain or somehow makes them feel better, I can't really see that it hurts me to allow them to set up and maintain a memorial. I guess I just don't buy the "it's a distraction" argument. Compared to all the other distractions that exist, not the least of which are all the billboards placed along roadsides, these memorials seem pretty innocuous to me. If someone tried to place a memorial in my front yard, however, I'd probably be pretty miffed about it. Hopefully there won't be any bad traffic accidents in front of my house.

I could be wrong, but I think this is a cultural practice--I think it is very common in Latin and South American countries, which is probably why it is more common in some areas than in others.

03-10-2007, 11:43 PM
In Mexico they have full-blown cement, permanent crosses on the side of the road where someone met their maker. I thought that was kind of nice...not tacky with tons of wreaths, etc...just a simple, permanent cross. I quite liked it.

03-11-2007, 01:22 AM
Yes, it's common here too. It doesn't bother me, although I can't see that it would ease my loss, but if it helps someone else then I think they should be able to do it.

One of the state representatives sponsored a bill here a few years ago to ban them, but it didn't get anywhere.

03-12-2007, 02:53 AM
I don't doubt it's cultural. We're very, very Mexican in our culture, and the roadside crosses are a part of that.

I was thinking more about the distraction argument, and I have to think I agree with Barbara. There are all sorts of things on the side of the road that can cause a distraction, from billboards to real estate signs to the Liberty Tax folks (I once saw Uncle Sam really gettin' down on the side of the road). But I don't see anyone campaigning against those as a distraction (even in HI, where billboards are illegal, it's an issue of attractiveness rather than distraction). To single out memorials just doesn't make sense to me.

03-12-2007, 10:17 AM
Nothing to add to the debate really, but a funny story...a "gentleman" was killed when he drove off the highway near my house here last year. He was drunk as a skunk driving with his lights off speeding around an already dangerous bend. Well, the inevitable happened and off he went. His friends (not his family, mind you) were so grieved by his passing that they continually put garish memorials in the roadway median for almost a year until they were "asked" not to.

What was their solution? To carve a memorial into the rock cliff at the side of the road. It took them several nights to do and eventually the cops put them under survellance and busted them for defacing the property.

I suppose it wouldn't have been so bad if they weren't carving a giant (15' at least) cross into the rock with his nickname on it. That of course being "Ol' B@st@rd". It's all been ground away now, but I'm sure Ol' B was getting a kick out of it wherever he is.

03-12-2007, 11:43 AM
They have them all over Detroit, and it's depressing to me. I'll drive around and see dirty stuffed animals tied to a telephone pole or street sign and I wonder how does a bunch of wet, soggy, dirty animals honor someone?


03-12-2007, 06:31 PM
This morning as I was driving the stretch of road, that has the most memorials in my area, I was thinking about this thread. I began thinking that I said they were distracting, I still think they are, but as some have mentioned maybe not any more than anything else. Surely not anymore so than cell phones :callme: But I will stick with the "unsightly" part of my comments. There is a memorial about a half mile from me that really irritates me. Now the gentleman killed there was just sitting at a red light, some freakin idiot just plowed into him, the deceased was less than a mile form home. For that I feel really sorry for him and his family....but that was 3 years ago...somebody keeps putting helium :balloons: up for every holiday you can put ballons up for, little Christmas trees, Easter bunnies, etc. I mean come on...enough is enough already. The balloons run out of air and just look like .... laying on the ground.

Seriously, wouldn't it be nicer to "honor" him this way if you wish, at home?

There is a sad story in our area ~ A little boy was killed by a hit and run driver when he was nine years old. He had gone to school at our church school but didn't go to our church. He was between my kids in age, so he would have been 24 today. Anyway, the driver was never found, the kids was out in the middle of a busy-busy street with a curve right before where he was hit...maybe the driver knew they hit him maybe sure would think so. Anyway, that has been about 15 years ago. Every year on Memorial week-end, when he was killed, his birthday and Christmas and Easter, the family put in a huge memorial PLEADING for the driver to come is really sad to see them holding on so tight. The way their pain is expressed in the stories it appears that they will never find comfort until the driver is found. I could not even begin to feel their pain...I probably shouldn't even comment on just seems so sad to carry that burden. However, there is no memorial at the death site.

Several years back there wasn't too many of these, I just don't want to see it become the "norm".