Roadside memorials

@dawnald (84146)
Shingle Springs, California
January 29, 2009 11:21am CST
So I am not meaning to offend anybody, just curious, but what is the point of those roadside memorials? I don't remember ever seeing them growing up and they are getting more and more common. I'm used to the idea that if you lost a loved one, you go and leave flowers and so on where they were buried (or where their ashes are). So does anybody know where this came from? Is it some spontaneous American thing that somebody started and people started copying? Or did it come from some other culture?
16 people like this
25 responses
@Lore2009 (7388)
• United States
29 Jan 09
I think it's just to leave some marking at the last place they were alive. I think they do the same in England and in Japan... but I don't think it's a traditional thing either.
2 people like this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
29 Jan 09
But in some places they are kept up year after year just as if it were a grave!
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
30 Jan 09
A couple people have mentioned that.
@ronaldinu (12440)
• Malta
29 Jan 09
We have roadside memorials even in Malta. When a tragic traffic accident occurs, the victim's relatives set up a roadside memorial putting flowers plus photos. I do think that the road should not become another graveyard. I am not in favour of such memorials.
2 people like this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
29 Jan 09
I'm not a big fan of them either. I think they could be a roadside hazard for one thing.
@rmuxagirl (7561)
• United States
29 Jan 09
I think more and more people are getting into car accidents and more and more people want to memorialize the people they have lost where they were in the accident. I am not sure where that idea came from.
2 people like this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
29 Jan 09
Seems like it, yep.
• United States
29 Jan 09
I dont know the hows, whens wheres or whys to this custom but here is my opinion of it I think its actually a good thing from a drivers perspective when I drive and I see those flowered crosses along the side of the road I slow down I think about the fact that someone has lost their life driving on this road If I see several of those within a short distance I become more alert and more cautious because I cant help but think that perhaps this section of road is not that safe So if it makes drivers more aware of their surroundings maybe the highway department should put them along side of the road every so many miles
2 people like this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
29 Jan 09
Good for you for slowing down but I suspect that it's a distraction for some people and could actually be a hazard.
• United States
29 Jan 09
Im not sure where it came from but i have noticed this as well. some cases i agree with people putting up road side memorials especially on blind intersections and dangerous curves. I think this is the product of cemetaries not wanting flowers planted at graves any more (i know here we are not allowed to plant) and if we put plastic or fake flowers out we have 2 weeks then we are supposed to go remove them from the site or we will be charged for the removal. I dont understand it i personally think its not fair, makes me want to be burried in my back yard ohh but if only that were legal
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
29 Jan 09
Maybe it is, but I wonder if that doesn't just make the road more dangerous. On the one hand it might make you slow down, but on the other you might not be looking where you should be because of the distraction!
2 people like this
@hildas (3031)
6 Feb 09
No! This is very common here in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Even when I was young it was very popular here. It must be all the Irish coming to the states that are setting this tradition off. I think maybe at first its ok to lay flowers at the roadsides, but a grave is more appropiate in my own opinion.
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
6 Feb 09
I hear it's also common in Italy and Latin American countries and I'm wondering if it might be a Catholic thing.
1 person likes this
@hildas (3031)
6 Feb 09
Yeah possibly it is. I hate to see so many along our roads here though.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
6 Feb 09
I don't mind so much except I think in some cases they can actually be dangerous instead of helpful.
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
31 Jan 09
I don't know where the custom originated from either, but we have them on some of our roads in Australia too. I must admit when I do see one it makes me sad and I do slow down and I am reminded not to be complacent on the road and that can't be a bad thing.
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
31 Jan 09
Good that it makes you slow down. I just hope that there aren't too many rubbernecking accidents from such things!
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
1 Feb 09
Didn't look at it that way, you are quite right, it can have a negative effect too!
1 person likes this
@kbourgerie (8781)
• United States
30 Jan 09
You know, I don't know anything about roadside memorials, but recently I learned that tennis shoes hanging from power lines means that a gang member was killed there. I don't know how true that it, but I was very surprised. I've seen shoes hanging many times and never really gave it a second thought except to think that some idiot got drunk and threw them up there. Turns out there may be some significance behind it.
1 person likes this
@jdyrj777 (6556)
• United States
30 Jan 09
Like so many things thew gangs do. Makes no sense. Gang writtings on stuff makes no sense. Only the writter understands. The police here want to charge the property owners. I say put up a cam and when they are caught make them clean it up
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
30 Jan 09
Not sure how true that is, but my brothers used to toss their shoes up so that they were hanging off the street lights and they weren't involved in gangs.
• United States
31 Jan 09
I first noticed it in another state, when I relocated there. I thought it was just something they did. There were even spots where there would be many different ones, and the thought crossed my mind that maybe it was a plea to fix certain roads. When I moved back to the state I had live in the most, I started seeing them here as well. Then when we went on roadtrips, I started seeing them everywhere! At the time, I was not watching TV or readin the newspapers at all, pretty much was just reading up on what I was actually interested in. I windered if this was a new vice for handling grief maybe depicted on dr. Phil or similar shows.
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
2 Feb 09
I suspect it came up to the US from Latin America and lots of people saw it and copied it.
@trixyteddy (1072)
• India
31 Jan 09
Hi Dawnald, Memorials are okay, but in the right and safe place. I really don't believe in building something on top of places where we bury our loved ones. Many will disagree with me. Lets think practically. How much longer will the body remain there? I would prefer to do things, like educate poor children, or help the poor in some way or the other with the same money in the deceased person's name. The soul is gone wherever it has to, and the body will be lost forever in no time. So what's the point of wasting money on grave stones. There are so many living people who cannot afford even a single meal a day. Excuse me mylotter if you feel offended, but I'm not going back on my opinion.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
31 Jan 09
I definitely think we need to do a lot more to help the living...
@4ofmyown (1119)
• United States
30 Jan 09
They are everywhere here in Florida!!! I mean everywhere! I know it is Florida law that you are not supposed "decorate" them...like put a wreath on them at Christmas or balloons if it is the deceased Birthday but people still do. They don't want people to because they are afraid it will take the attention of drivers, then causing more accidents. Actually, the road I have to drive everyday I go passed one and it is for a woman that was my neighbor growing up. It is creepy if the person on one of those was actually someone you knew.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
30 Jan 09
Yeah it would be creepy if I knew the person...
• Canada
30 Jan 09
We have them in Canada too. I also wonder about where this custom started. It's a good warning system to drivers speeding by to look at the memorial by the side of the road and maybe decide to slow down a bit. I think that's the message the memorials are trying to get across. It seems to be a fairly recent custom. . .guess our life is speeding along more than it used to. A man on a pedal bike on his way to work one morning was knocked down by a big truck and killed. His friends/family spray painted his bike a ghostly white and attached it to a lamp post nearby. Looking at it gives me a shivery feeling.
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
30 Jan 09
That would give me a shivery feeling too!
@jessi0887 (2794)
• United States
30 Jan 09
Well in high school i lossed three friends in car accidents. TWo in the same accident and one of them was pregnant. The other one in a seperate accident. We put up memorials to remind us. Everytime i drive by there i think of my friends. Also others seeing the memorial may help them be cautious with their driving.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
30 Jan 09
That's really, sad. My condolences.
• United States
30 Jan 09
I don't know where the idea came from, but it is a bad one. When we lived in Maryland, a flowered cross and wreath appeared at the side of the road on a main drag. There was a banner across the wreath. Three accidents later (people reading the banner and not watching the road), it was removed by authorities. The best place for remembrances are in your own home, or the cemetary or possibly a plaque in your church (if such an item is allowed). We have enough problems with people talking on cells, applying makeup, reading maps, and eating while driving. The last thing we need is the curious driver reading memory banners.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Jan 09
I don't know where it came from but I am tired of seeing them. Give people their roses, while they are still able to smell them. In the urban neighborhood it's ridiculous. I have seen tables in vacant lot where someone was murdered. On that table was candles, teddy bears, and bottle of alize with cups and the person picture. What's sad no one takes care of the upkeep. Dirty teddy bears tied to telephone pools forever. I would like who started this trend.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
30 Jan 09
yep the ones that sit there and get all messy and decayed are very sad looking...
@derek_a (10902)
30 Jan 09
This is practised here in the UK too and I can't remember them when I was a kid either. I don't really know when it started. I think it's probably family and friends of fatal accident victims showing respect to where that person was last alive. I should imagine it would help with the grief experience. :-)Derek
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
30 Jan 09
Maybe and maybe it's a way to remind people about the person and what happened!
• Dallas, Texas
30 Jan 09
Must be some kind of a fad - I have seen that a lot lately as well. There were a couple of murders here last year because a gang member had got killed and the rival gang kept peeing on his roadside memorial - They left a sign on there that said RIP Rest In Piss - It was crazy.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
30 Jan 09
Oh now that is nasty!
@Bethany1202 (3432)
• United States
30 Jan 09
Like most others have responded, I don't know where this tradition started and guess it is just certain people's ways of dealing with their loss and grief. On the one hand, I do totally respect that and see it as a good thing for people to slow down. However, as you pointed out, it may also be a distraction and thus a hazard. I have seen them many times, even years ago, so I don't think it's a recent thing.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
30 Jan 09
Depends on how recent. I don't think I ever saw them when I was learning to drive back in the 70's...
@breepeace (3027)
• Canada
30 Jan 09
I think it's just a way of paying homage to passed loved ones, and as a warning to other motorists/pedestrians about the dangers of that area as they've already claimed one life. I'm in Northern Canada, and we have them everywhere. Slippery roads, long winters and young hotheads with too much money and too little patience are all factors in this area.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
30 Jan 09
Drunk driving, racing, etc. Yep. Too many of them around here and people are mostly safer drivers than they were in Southern California.
1 person likes this
@Barb42 (4216)
• United States
30 Jan 09
They are all around the country, but most main highways will not allow them to stay up. I've seen them removing those on the Interstates or in town. We had a man killed in our front yard, and the wife thought it was fine to put up one right at our driveway! We resented that! She doesn't even live in this area and doesn't know how bad this road is by our house. We've had many wrecks there without something getting your attention that normally would not be there. I just don't like the thought of seeing them all over the place. Let's take our flowers and things to the cemetery.
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
30 Jan 09
I wouldn't like one on my property either!