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Roadside memorial fees

Posted Friday, July 25, 2008, at 2:41 PM

West Virginia officials are proposing a $400 fee for permission to erect roadside memorials, according to The Associated Press.

Roadside memorials seem to have sprung up all over Bedford County and Shelbyville over the past few years. Some have remained, and been kept up, for several years. A candle lit at one caused a small grass fire a few years ago.

Seems like we didn't see any until Hispanics moved to the area and began erecting them.

Should a fee be charged? I tend to think not. The victims' families have suffered enough -- often, financially as well as emotionally -- without being forced to pay hundreds of dollars.

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I don't think a fee should be charged. I also don't think it's just Hispanics putting up the memorials. I've seen them everywhere - including in Canada. I think that for the families of the person(s) who've died that it's good for them to have a place where they know that their loved one will be remembered.

-- Posted by cfrich on Fri, Jul 25, 2008, at 3:46 PM

NO a fee should not be charged...That is just not right....I know for a fact some of them around here in Bedford County are not Hispanics...I can think of 4 that are for children from Cascade High School....

-- Posted by rebelrose on Sat, Jul 26, 2008, at 11:22 AM

Why would there even be a fee? I would say most if not all is on city or county property which by all rights that property belongs to every tax payer.

I know that they aren't all Hispanics either..I know of several that aren't Hispanic.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Sat, Jul 26, 2008, at 3:47 PM

Ok, I'm not saying this to be insensitive or anything, but why do we have cemeteries? The first time I saw one of these roadside memorials (I was quite young, btw) I thought that was where someone was buried. I had only seen crosses with flowers on headstones and graves. How many places does one need to remember? Plus, I, for one, wouldn't want my loved ones remembering where and how I died like that. I'd rather they celebrate how I lived.

Just my penny and a half.

-- Posted by craftin_mom on Sat, Jul 26, 2008, at 6:45 PM

Throwing in an off hand remark about hispanics was very tacky.

Informing the public about a fee for memorial markers was the right thing to do.

Making a point to degrade a specific culture was of no public service.

Do you degrade them as they are building your house, mowing your lawn, or serving you dinner in their restraunts you wait in line to get into?

The proposal in West Virginia would take months or years to trickle down south, but thanks to your ignorant comment, we all can rest assured that sterotyping is alive and well. Thanks for the public announcement.

-- Posted by starparent on Sun, Jul 27, 2008, at 8:57 AM

I don't think David meant it in a derogatory way but I'm glad people are right-thinking enough to object to statements that might be used against other people.

I fear we don't make too many correlations between obviously positive things and our new people.

I haven't heard a lot of folks say "We never had people having chai and scones for breakfast till those Bermudans showed up."

Statements like the one David made aren't necessarily a shot against another culture.

Unfortunately,that's been the case so often that we tend to make a default assumption that something was intended as a jibe.

That's especially easy to do if you don't know that the speaker (or writer) would be above such prejudice.

Maybe,we could have an article on the different parts of our cultures or how we've benefitted from our neighbors of different backgrounds.

As for roadside memorials,I think many use them as reminders of deaths that occured due to dangerous road conditions,impaired driving and other correctable,preventable causes.

Even years ago,the area where Mr.Simmons died had claimed so many lives that it was singled out for attention until it was made safer.

A few more memorials of this sort might have prompted correction of the problem earlier.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Sun, Jul 27, 2008, at 1:56 PM

Craftin_mom, it's not necessarily so that you can remember where your loved one died. It's also a silent reminder for other people. Especially if the memorial was put in place due to a car accident. It's a way of saying that something tragic happened in that place and letting others know to be careful so that maybe it won't happen again. I do not think there should be a fee. And I totally agree with Quantumcat. These memorials could end up saving someone's life. Not everyone can see a grave or a headstone by just driving down the road.

-- Posted by candasons07 on Sun, Jul 27, 2008, at 2:32 PM

I actually can understand why David would make the comment about Hispanics because the custom of marking the site of a death on the highway has deep roots in the Hispanic culture of the Southwest, where these memorials are often referred to as Descansos ("resting places").

That is actual fact. Maybe people should know the facts before criticizing.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 12:59 PM

Maybe jax should re read the blog...

His words "Seems like we didn't see any until Hispanics moved to the area and began erecting them."

Did we all miss His explaination about southwest practices, or did we all not read the same words?

Bottom line, it's a human thing, whether it's to memoralize or warn others of the dangers around the curve. Humans care, love, and sadly all must grieve. The emotion is the same, the way it's expressed may be different, yet respected.

FACT: The world is round, we'll all get there.

-- Posted by starparent on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 8:23 PM

David was talking memorials erected in Bedford County/Shelbyville area, not southwest culture.

I am not saying by any means I agree with the Roadside Memorials because I neither agree nor disagree. Personally I think they are a little morbid. To me it is like having a Birthday Party at the cemetery. Or people taking pictures of their loved ones in a casket...but it is a personal choice. But I certainly do not think there should be a fee..either allow them or don't. Do not try and make money from them.

This is a note to any of my loved ones: If you take pictures of me in my casket I will come back and haunt you.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 8:57 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.