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Old 06-27-2008, 07:00 PM
 
9,228 posts, read 18,942,794 times
Reputation: 22160

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I never noticed them before the early 90’s but now they are everywhere; at least in NJ and PA. Are these eyesores a problem where you live?

Apparently when someone dies in a traffic accident, people feel compelled to place all kinds of garbage on the side of the road at the site of the accident, and this somehow “honors” the deceased person. It’s just plain trashy and undignified. You’ve seen them: piles of artificial flowers, hand-made signs, tattered moldy teddy bears. Some people even build semi-permanent crosses out of white PVC fence posts or pipes to “memorialize” their loved ones. Classy, huh?

To me, such a vulgar display is more of an insult to the person’s memory. It says “here is where a low-life died” even if it’s not the case. It probably says more about the amount of class or refinement the mourners have (or lack).

If I should ever die in a car accident, I certainly don’t want to be memorialized with a bunch of faded fake flowers and dirty stuffed animals tied around a telephone pole! Send $20 to a charity in my name and call it a day.

If you lose someone to an auto accident, yes, you are grieving. But there are plenty of more tasteful, dignified ways of expressing your grief and paying tribute to the person aside from putting a bunch of junk on the roadside where the rest of us have to look at it.
You could visit the person’s grave (I hear lots of people do that).
Place flowers on their grave.
Set up a memorial webpage.
Put together a scrapbook or photo album.
Write an obituary and send it to the newspaper.
Take out a classified ad with a eulogy to the person.
If you need an “altar”, set one up in your house, or in your yard. Your back yard.
Hell, get a memorial tattoo if that’s your thing.

I understand that people all grieve differently. But please don’t allow your grief to litter the scenery for the rest of us. Keep it in the cemetery; that’s what they’re for (and even most of them have standards about what objects you can leave).

I learned that a few states have made these things illegal, and I support that if that’s what the local citizens chose to do. But I’m not too much into creating more laws, just enforcing the existing ones. People should be fined for littering when they do this. In most places littering means at least a $200 fine. Maybe people who are forced to pick up trash by the roadside as court-mandated community service should be assigned to get rid of these gaudy piles of garbage.
But I wish the people would just decide on their own to at least try to appear to have some couth and not do this in the first place.

Moderator cut: see comment

Last edited by Bo; 12-30-2009 at 10:05 PM.. Reason: You can't invite members to attack you because their personal attacks would be a violation of the TOS.
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Old 06-27-2008, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Ca2Mo2Ga2Va!
2,736 posts, read 5,953,290 times
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Wow, I'd never complain about a roadside memorial. It always makes me feel a little sad for the family when I see them. I never think of them as eye sores. I just pray I never need to put one up.
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Old 06-27-2008, 07:18 PM
 
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Sure, don't get me wrong, I feel sad for the family & loved ones.
But it's a terrible way to try to "honor" the deceased person. It's equivalent to pulling down one's pants and defacating on the site where they died. Why not do something that actually honors the person in a good way instead of deciding to litter in their memory?
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Old 06-27-2008, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Ca2Mo2Ga2Va!
2,736 posts, read 5,953,290 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
Sure, don't get me wrong, I feel sad for the family & loved ones.
But it's a terrible way to try to "honor" the deceased person. It's equivalent to pulling down one's pants and defacating on the site where they died. Why not do something that actually honors the person in a good way instead of deciding to litter in their memory?
LOL, well, I don't think it's as bad as that
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Old 06-27-2008, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Mission Viejo, CA
2,498 posts, read 10,290,235 times
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I've seen instances when "roadside" stuff was done very tastefully. I also don't think placing flowers that just die and litter the road is a good way to remember someone. I respect their desires, but I think it can be done better than the haphazard ways it is usually done.

A 15 year old girl from the other team suddenly died in a cross country race against my son's high school. It was a tragic loss for our community and I thought the parents made a very tasteful memorial. They did a small plaque saying "This tree is in loving memory of Megan Myers" below the tree she grasped during the race before passing away. I thought it was a classy way to honor the 15 year old girl and looked professional, rather than like trash.
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Old 06-27-2008, 09:08 PM
 
37 posts, read 105,783 times
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Let the mourners mourn how they want to. You're the one who is making judgments on "taste". I think the opinions of the people who put the memorials there are more relevant than yours.
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Old 06-27-2008, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Chicago
3,340 posts, read 8,706,257 times
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This is ridiculous, its more of an insult calling it littering than anything else, I always think the roadside memorials we have here are nice, though sad
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Old 06-27-2008, 10:13 PM
 
769 posts, read 2,011,428 times
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Some memorials can be tasteful and pleasant, but I agree with the original O.P., many can be an eyesore.
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Old 06-27-2008, 10:21 PM
 
Location: New Mexico to Texas
4,552 posts, read 13,457,615 times
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they are all over in NM too, New Mexico is one of the worst states for DWI related deaths so there are alot of memorials, there was even some parents on the news last year who had their memorial stolen twice.
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Old 06-27-2008, 10:26 PM
 
11,882 posts, read 32,920,559 times
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However tasteful they may be, makeshift roadside memorials are illegal along federally funded roads.

Here's what Maryland's State Highway Administration says about roadside memorials, and this seems to be the best explanation I can find:

• In recent years, there has been an increase in roadside memorials placed by individuals near the scenes of fatal traffic crashes.
- Typical memorials include flowers, wreaths, crosses, balloons, teddy bears, photographs, candles or personal affects.
• Federal and state laws prohibit placement of anything on state property along state roads – roadsides, medians or in utility poles – except highway related signs and devices (mile markers, guard rail, etc…).
• Additionally, stopping along many highways is unsafe for those placing memorials and is also prohibited by law (interstates, controlled‐access highways).
• Roadside memorials placed in SHA right‐of‐way present issues for spring and summer mowing operations as the memorials must be moved or removed. In some instances, a memorial may not be noticed and could become
entangled in the blades of the mower and become a projectile into the roadway or potentially injuring drivers, passengers or workers.
• SHA must comply with the law and has an obligation to motorists to keep roads safe, which includes removing distractions and illegal items from State right‐of‐way.
• When doing so, crews keep any intact memorials at the nearest shop to be reclaimed within two weeks. If the owners of the memorials are known, SHA tries to contact them.

In Maryland alone, there are 600 highway deaths every year. If each one of those resulted in a roadside memorial, it wouldn't be long before Maryland's highways are nothing but long stretches of memorials.

The full text is available here:

http://www.sha.state.md.us/faq/do/RoadsideMemorialLaw.pdf (broken link)
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