Sensitive Topic Permanent Memorials on Streets and Highways

This topic is very sensitive but I felt like I need to write about it. It has been on my mind for so long when I leave my home and drive. I live in New York in one of the boroughs and it is very busy no matter what time of day it is. Traffic all the time and everywhere. I have also done a lot of research on this subject and it is all throughout the United States.

I think about the memorials that are put on our streets and highways.  They are called "MakeShift Memorials" where Family members put up signs, flowers, pictures, of where the person was most likely hit by a car. It hurts so much to see this. It makes me think as I drive what happened? How is the family? Was it a drunk driver? Was it a person driving to fast? Was it the person who passed away their fault?

Family members continue to put up something new each week, monthly or on a special occasion. Some places there are big photos of the person that passed with planted flowers, big crosses, decorations, birthday signs etc.

My opinion on this subject goes back and forth. I of course hurt for the family that has lost a loved one. I feel at times the memorial should be where the person is resting in peace (cemetery) or cremation. I feel sometimes memorials should not be two blocks from my home on a corner that I pass each day. It makes me sad. At the same time I think about the family and the person that has passed away. How would I feel if I lost a loved one in a car accident at that location? Would I want to put up and keep up a memorial at that location.? I do not have the answer to my own questions.

Updated Article 

I read an article from a family member of their sister that was in a car accident this is what they said,

"It's very sad, because at the end of the day for people like myself who have lost someone to a road crash, [we] need to be able to return to the spot where their loved one took their last breath, had their last thought and lived their last moments," she said.

This breaks my heart for the family after I read this article. 

As time goes on I see so many more memorials on busy streets and on the highways. I wonder at times is it causing more accidents because they stand out so much and do people look and loose their concentration on driving.

I am not speaking of a memorial that are put up for a month or few months, days for someone that a horrid accident happened, or a terrorist attack. I am concerned about the memorials that become permanent. I have seen some along side the highway that have become so big it is a shrine. I had asked my family their opinions and they had no opinions because they said they really never paid attention to it. I believe everyone is different and of course reacts different.

Most of the land is small blue belts where I live and city property. This is where I see the memorial sites. It does become a distraction to me and to others its as if they do not even see it or think about it. As I sit, think and write I do have opinions and worries but at the same time do not have any answers as to how I truly feel.

 I know this is a very difficult subject. I would love to hear your opinions on how you feel and think. I also would like to know if this is in your town, city, is it overwhelming?


  1. I lost my 21 year-old daughter to a car accident or Christmas Eve in 2006. My daughter made it known before this horrible event that she did not want a viewing, and she wanted to be cremated. I just could not bear the thought of never seeing her again, so I had a viewing. So, I felt that I had to honor her wishes as far as cremation goes. So, I have no place to go to "visit" her. Honestly, I think that the election campaign signs and advertisements for handymen, grass cutters, "we buy ugly houses," are far more distracting than a roadside memorial could ever be. I think if anyone lost a really close family member in this way, they would never object to a family playing tribute and homage to them in this way. You have to have been there. In a perfect world, no one would have to suffer this unspeakable tragedy, but as someone who has experienced it, I can tell you, it is not a perfect world. I have never heard of any motor vehicle accident anywhere that was caused by someone glancing at a roadside memorial. I don't think it does any harm to allow those who grieve this one means of comfort. If anything, these memorials should serve as a reminder to motorists to take great care when they are driving because one moment of carelessness, wrecklessness, or aggressiveness can change a family's life forever.

    1. I am so sorry Edna. I truly believe like I had mentioned if you were in the situation it would be different. Sometimes you do not think of the entire situation. Thank you for sharing and I am sorry :(

  2. Thanks for your response Cynthia. It is nice to know that someone cares enough to explore what the story is behind the act rather than just make a blanket statement with no knowledge or experience on the topic. And thanks for creating a platform where I could present my side, the side of grieving families. It is a topic I've heard brought up on TV, but not in a medium where there could be an exchange. Thank you for that also. Have a great weekend and keep up the great work on your blog!;)

    1. Edna-- Thank you for sharing your story, and I extend my heartfelt... sometimes there are no words, you know? I am sorry to hear of your loss.
      And thank you to Cynthia, too, for writing about this issue and bringing it up a notch in our conscious awareness.
      In Chicago it's not uncommon to see bicycles, often painted white, used as memorials. Personally, I don't see it as an annoyance at all. I'm a person who is sensitive and empathetic, and seeing these memorials causes a little pang in my heart. I'm not going to raise a fuss and demand that the city enforce stricter regulations, or anything like that. If anything, I hope that these memorials remind everyone on the roads to be more cautious.

  3. I am fortunate never to have lost a loved one in that manner, but I agree with Edna. Those roadside memorials, while sad, allow the family to pay tribute and share their love for their lost loved one. And distracting? There are many much more distracting things on the side of the road, very few of them as lovely as a memorial tribute. Thanks for bringing this thoughtful conversation to the Blogger's Pit Stop.