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Roadside crosses - respectful or tacky?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by hbarcat, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. Memorial crosses are fine - keep putting them up

    14 vote(s)
  2. Memorial crosses are tacky - don't put them up

    15 vote(s)
  3. They can go up for a time - take them down after 1 year

    20 vote(s)
  4. This poll is stupid - I'm going to the kitchen and get a bowl of carrots

    9 vote(s)
  1. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    You've all seen them. Someone dies in a car accident and a few days later there's a cross (or two or three or more depending on how many were in the car) about 3 feet high with the victim's name on it planted in the grass near where the accident took place.

    And it stays there for years so that everyone who drives by knows that "John Q. Rollover" died there.

    If it happens to be in front of your house, you get to be reminded of that bit of trivia every time you pull in and out of your driveway or mow your lawn or even look out your window.

    As cold as this may be to say- Nobody cares, except the friends and relatives of the deceased, and if you want to put up a memorial to your loved one, then erect it on your own property. Or at the very least, if you really want to advertise to every total stranger who happens to drive by that someone you know died there of blunt trauma, take it down after a year goes by. That allows you to put up the cross right after the accident and have a nice little ceremony and then on the anniversary of the accident you can have another nice little ceremony and then take the thing down.

    What say all of you?
  2. steve21

    steve21 Inactive

    They're ****ing ********. Don't put them up.
  3. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    You're right: That was cold... :meh:

    Maybe, in addition to the memorial aspects of this practice, it's also intended to have something of a public safety / accident deterrent effect? By reminding motorists of the very tangible, lethal consequences of driving irresponsibly?

    Just a thought...

  4. no1likesme


    Dec 26, 2006
    Shepherd, MI
    Get rid of 'em
  5. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    I find them annoying, but it helps the loved ones of the deceased feel better. I think they should tear it down in a year though. If not, get a black garbage bag and do it yourself.
  6. Visirale


    Mar 23, 2003
    This is what I think of when I pass them. We had a few kids killed from my school doing stupid stuff on the highway. The crosses served to help close ones remember them and the rest of us realize we weren't invincible.

    Road side crosses come in all kinds of different forms too. A childhood friend of mine was killed when he was on a motorcycle and someone was going way too fast on a side road and hit him. Instead of putting up a cross, his family paid to have radar signs put in there. I think something like that serves a lot more of a practical purpose and leaves a more memorable memorial...
  7. peterbright


    Jan 23, 2007
    On The Bayou

    This makes some actual sense.
  8. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    You first started to see these when a carload of high school teens got run over by a drunk driver and the community came out to the site of the accident for a spontaneous memorial service and naturally they left a few tiny crosses which disappear with the elements after a few months. Now, however, friends and relatives of anyone who dies in a car accident feel it's expected of them to put up a memorial; it's become a habit, rather than a spontaneous outpouring of grief, and the crosses are permanent things, designed to last for years.
  9. I wouldn't want a memorial of me where I died, I would want a memorial where I actually lived.
  10. Jeremy Crockett

    Jeremy Crockett Amiable Crank

    Don't know that I'd agree with that assertion. It seems a bit subjective.

    Roadside memorials are fine. And if someone wants to take the time to maintain them, that's O.K. too. They do seem to serve not only as a reminder of the victims but as a cautionary tale as well.

    EDIT: Just did a quick Google search of "spontaneous roadside memorials" and it yields just a little. Might be an interesting subject to research.
  11. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    People express their grief in many ways. It's hard to judge something this emotional as stupid or not.
  12. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois

    It's true that I'm assigning my own biases to the motivations of others and it's also a gross oversimplification of what is obviously a very complex social phenomenon.

    Good point about being a cautionary tale. Twenty years ago, there were almost none of these around. Now, there are so many of them in the area where I live that I can't even keep track of them all, and some dangerous intersections have crosses from two or three separate accidents. This has to have some kind of collective psychological effect on motorists.
  13. TheDarkReaver

    TheDarkReaver Inactive

    Mar 20, 2006
    Lincolnshire, UK
    don't really see the crosses over here, flowers instead mainly. tbh on some roads they can be somewhat of a distraction to drivers, which could cause further accidents.
  14. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i care about it when i see it, regardless of where it is. someone lost a loved one there - a mother, a father, a son or daughter. all the potential of a lifetime abridged by a single mistake. people make mistakes all the time that are no where near so unforgiving.
  16. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    An interesting concept. Maybe if I die of a heart attack while wolfing down a Big Mac, supersize fries and chocolate shake at my local GoldenArches I could be stuffed and permanently enshrined in the booth closest to the front door.
  17. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    My brother was involved in a collision two years ago in which a young woman lost control of her car in the snow and collided with his car, head on. My brother received minor injuries but the woman died as she was not wearing her seat belt. My brother tried to see if he could help her immediately after the accident, but she was badly mutilated and the experience upset him a great deal, especially since the woman's family and friends were in the emergency room where they were both brought and they were screaming and crying in their grief.

    The site of the accident is about five miles from my brother's house and he drives by it perhaps a dozen times a week and he says that it often causes him to remember that night. There is no roadside memorial there, but I wonder if there were, he would have a more difficult time driving by it every day.
  18. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Over here, we put them up in stone, same as a graveyard, them ones be permanent. I, being in the industry, voted that they are fine(cept when I have to work on one at a busy cross, or corner), as to being reminded everytime you pass one, its like anything you pass by every day, eventually you take little to no notice at all.
  19. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    I've seen roadside crosses all of my life. I don't mind them at all. They are a common part of life.

    In South Texas, there is a spiritual component to the custom. The crosses are little shrines, or at least, the more rural ones are. The ones on highways get taken down after a time. They have to. The families then usually keep a shrine, if they wish, at home.

    A friend's mother died in a tragic car accident. She had a bad reaction to prescriptions she was taking for a long-term illness, lost control of her car, and ran off a cliff, into a 400' deep canyon. There was no guard rail. (Not that it would have helped her much, but still...) So, my friend had a cross put up. The state contacted her and said that she would have to remove her memorial. (Which, by the way, had been beautifully and simply done.) She bargained with them to have a small plaque, paid for by her, left in the cross's place, and petitioned for a guard rail.

    There is now a guard rail there, with the little plaque in the base of one of the supports.

    On another local corner, a van full of teenagers flipped and caught fire. It was a horrifying accident. My husband was a firefighter/EMT at the time, and he was on that call. They'd been coming back from seeing a football game in a town quite a ways away, and were tired. The driver took the turn too fast, and...it was just utterly horrifying and sad. The kids burned up...the entire field caught fire.

    There were crosses for those kids there for a long time. They were simple, attractive memorials, placed under a shade tree, and reminded everyone to be careful there, and to keep tabs on their teens.

    But a developer came along and took them down, to put in a subdivision.

    I feel like there should still be something there for those kids.

  20. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    aside from the obvious wierdness of erecting a miniature version of a 2000 year old torture & execution apparatus device thingy, I don't see any real harm... if the family of the deceased feel better about it, I wouldn't want to deny them their small bit of comfort

    if I died, I wouldn't want strangers erecting a cross for me, but that's because I'm not a Christian