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Monday, November 23, 2009

Roadside crosses


I've been fascinated by roadside crosses for years. These two are near an athletic field outside Sylva. The more elaborate one is immediately across the road near the railroad tracks. I think what fascinates me the most is the reason for erecting the marker. Obviously, both of these two victims have been buried or cremated and their remains reside in a cemetery. In effect, the dead have two memorials and both are carefully maintained. I often see evidence of this: fresh flowers, often planted and the roadside site is lovingly cared for. Why? I think in the minds of the friends and relatives, this spot has significance because the victim's death occurred on this spot.
There are probably 15 to 20 of these markers within ten miles of my home.

11 comments:

  1. When a much-loved high school teacher died some years back in a car crash near the high school, someone -- I think her students -- had a regular carved granite headstone set up at the location, just off the highway on private property. They planted a weeping cherry and other landscaping and the memorial continues to be tended.

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  2. That is pretty impressive. I don't know of any carved headstones, but a fellow who loved to fish over in Canton has a rustic cross and a fishing kreel hanging from it. This one is near the Canton exit to the Interstate.

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  3. I've often wondered about this myself. Sometimes you see lots of little plain white crosses where presumably many people died at the one spot. It must have something to with feelings of reverence for the spot on earth the victims last saw before they died. I guess that makes the area more sacred. I admit it gives me pause and I always look around to see if I can figure out why they died here--maybe it's especially dangerous?--and I drive a little more thoughtfully.

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  4. I've been told that the state highway department, which is quick to halt any infringement on their territory, actually approve of roadside markers like these since they serve to promote highway safety. I've always felt that a collection of photographs would make a wonderful "coffee table book."

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  5. I'm glad to see someone else shares my fascination with them too. That's going to be a project of mine shortly in that I want to interview the people that put the crosses up. I think it'll make a nice video.

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  6. Hey Gary! I've had a very busy November and I am way behind on all the blogs I follow! I'm spending the day catching up! I too am fascinated by this ritual. I'm not real fond of it because it does remind you that a life was lost in the spot.

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  7. I just found another that I may add to this post. This one honors a state highway patrolman and because he was an ardent fisherman, someone has placed a creel on the cross.

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