Tuesday 13 January 2009

Road Side Memorials

So today in the Winnipeg Sun they have an article about roadside memorials. For those of you who might not be familiar with them basically they are a memorial put up at the scene of an car accident involving death. Now these memorials are put up by friends, family, loved ones and come in all different shapes and sizes. Finally they can leave them up for as long as they like, even replace them year after year. All of that has changed now with a new law that passed yesterday here in Winnipeg. Now they have to follow a few new rules including
  • 90 day time limit
  • Size limits
  • A ban on glass elements (like vases)
  • a requirement for contact information
  • The article in the paper suggested that there were other rules as well but didn't include them.
A lot of people are up in arms about these new restrictions and guidelines. Now on one hand I can completely understand how they feel after all people need to be able to remember and deal with the lose of a loved one in their own fashion. At the same time though what about the rights of the people who live in the area, have businesses near by, or have to work in the area. Don't they have rights as well?

As a home owner would you want someone memorial to be the first thing that you see every morning when you look out your window? What would happen if you tried to sell the house? I can pretty much promise that a memorial on your front lawn would impact the sale price. The same types of questions come up in the case of businesses. Some people are superstitious and wouldn't shop near a place where someone died.

The last example is one that I feel deserves special attention and thats the city workers. What happens if a watermain breaks right near a roadside memorial? Is it fair to ask them to move these memorials so that they can do their job. I don't think so, but that is what they are having to do right now. In talking to a few of them over the summer I learned that they move them and then put them back as best they can.

Wouldn't someones memory be better served by doing good in their name? Maybe volunteering time, donating money in their name. At all the site of their death is just that a place, their spirits do not live there, they are not trapped there.


WingsofWax said...

I've heard that these memorials also serve as distraction for motorists - which is also a fair notice. It's important for failies to do what they feel they need to, sure, but the size and elaborateness lately is nearing public nuisance. It's a shame there isn't a simpler way, especially here in the city. But with so many conflicting beliefs, superstitions and so on - it's hard for public bereavement to find a good common ground.

Shirl said...

It's a toughie. We have roadside memorials here, but they tend to be small bunches of flowers taped to a nearby tree, lamp-post or bench and will be cleared away when the flowers are dead.

I do understand the need to visit the spot of passing; it can be comforting for relatives.