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Roadside memorial


Another roadside memorial.  This is at an intersection on Gallatin Road, in Madison, TN (part of Nashville).  They are everywhere.  This one’s front cannot be viewed from this angle, which makes it all the more mysterious.  The front faces Gallatin, and that is a very busy road.  There is no way someone would be able to read it from there, zipping along on the road.  There isn’t a stop sign there.  This is in a between place.


There is a small metal tag attached to the top – it looks like one for a motorcycle.  The front looks like it is painted red. I kind of wish I’d gotten out of the car to look at it up close.

These memorials raise more questions than answers for me.

Who is this for?  Did s/he die here?  Is it to warn others that this is a dangerous intersection?

Did the person who placed it get permission to put this here?  Is this public property? Does this mean anybody can post whatever they want here?

How long will it stay? Forever?

When did this trend start, to memorialize the dead where they died?

When will it stop?  Why do I want it to stop?

Will it spill out and go everywhere – one at the desk of the person who died at work?  One on the sidewalk for the person who had a heart attack while walking her dog?

Why is it OK to celebrate grief in random places?

Why has a private feeling become public, yet anonymous?

Why am I so uncomfortable with this?  Why do I think it is low-class, gauche, tacky?

Why are they always Christian crosses – do Buddhists and Jews and Muslims and Hindus not die in traffic accidents too?  Do their families not care?  Or do they just know how to contain their grief in better ways?

Why is a graveyard better?  Why is hiding away grief better?

Are these to be seen as “memento mori” signs – reminders that you will die, that life is fleeting?


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