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An Article About Roadside Memorials Essay

1406 words - 6 pages

For the past two decades, roads became more than a medium of transportation. They turned into places that hold symbolic meaning to certain families in the form of roadside memorials. Roadside memorials are stone markers that serve the purpose of honoring the lives of those killed in automobile accidents. They usually take the shape of a Christian cross, whereby the name of the deceased is carved in the cross’s horizontal line. Normally surrounding the memorial are flowers and other gifts to illustrate grief. This stone is situated at the location of the person’s death. Roadside memorials are put there by the family and relatives of the victim as a method of immortalizing their memory. It reassures them that although the person has died, their memory continues to live. However, roadside memorials create a lot of controversy. Some believe they are a noble act keeping drivers reminded of the dangers of reckless driving. Yet others believe they should be banned for being a source of distraction on the road, as well as a violation to laws, specifically the one stating religious symbols should not be in public grounds. However, with the application of some restrictions, roadside memorials should not be banned because of their benefits.
According to the article "Roadside Memorials" those memorials only became famous about twenty years ago even though they existed for more than two centuries (Collins and Rhine 223). While gaining their popularity, they generated several criticisms, one being that they are distracting to drivers. Opponents of the memorial claim that bright colored flowers, messages conveying someone's sudden death and religious symbols, such as the cross are all factors that would grab the driver's attention. Therefore, it would make him/her focus less on the road and more on the memorial, and as a result should be removed. Additionally, another argument made for their removal is that they are illegal, as they break the constitutional law stating that there must be a separation between the church and the state ("Grieving California Mom Takes Down Cross"). Since most roadside memorials are shaped in the form of the Christian cross, they represent a religious symbol in a public space, and therefore violating the law.
Even though some assert that roadside memorials are distracting, the reality is that they are too small to cause any trouble. Several articles and documents have provided evidence to support the memorial's insignificantly small size. For instance it is mentioned in the article "Roadside Memorials" that "the typical memorial is between 1 and 3 feet high with a breadth of about 1½ feet." The article also states that if you are between 50 to 100 yards away from the memorial, it would be challenging to see it (Collins and Rhine 238). Therefore, it is highly unlikely for most drivers to spot roadside memorials. However, restrictions should be added to ensure that the memorials remain in a size that is not big enough to cause...

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