Roadside Memorials Essay

Roadside Memorials Essay

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Roadside memorials are seen on the side of a street or highway often times after the passing of a loved one in a car accident. While a grave marks where a body is finally laid, the roadside memorial marks the last place where a person was alive. The memorial is usually kept up by family and close friends and is decorated with flowers, messages, and a cross or plaque. However, often times controversial, these families believe that their moral authority to remember a loved one trumps any governmental regulations set in place.
While they have been recently popping up throughout the Western world, they do demonstrate cultural norms through the materials left behind at the memorial site; often times, they replicate structures similar to ones at old gravesites, RIP, messages on tombstones and recitals like those at traditional funerals. In this sense traditional represents a memorial and funeral in a religious setting. These new memorials often times do not find meaning in religious settings after a sudden and tragic death has occurred. Proxemics in this case is displayed by the surviving families feeling that their loved ones death spot belongs to them; identity is constructed through the items left behind. To the ones left behind, they do not want the death to go unnoticed and want to connect to the last place a loved one was alive. They feel empowered to do so through the tragic event that has occurred there. After such tragedy has happened, a common public place spaces become a private place of tribute. Whether is it through pictures, personal messages or a cross, the items left behind reflect how the deceased influenced his or her surviving friends and family. The difference becomes more evident when it done through a civil body ...


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...eligious institution, they are not typically identified with religion, as crosses are general markers of death and sacredness rather than purely Christian symbols. Traditionally, these small white crosses were used to mark the rest areas for a funeral procession. In the religious sense, a cross can be used with the Christian intent of forgiveness. While there could be an argument about how crosses violates the constitutional principle of separation of church and state by promoting religion, crosses used at roadside shrines are merely there to mark a solemn event. In recent years, the use of a cross has become a secular representation of a passing and burial. Outside the roadside memorial, crosses are seen at military, Jewish, and irreligious gravesites. The cross has come out of the church has now transformed into a worldwide meaning of sacredness and reverence.

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