Roadside Memorials

Here in this area, you frequently see roadside memorials where a fatal accident has occurred. Family and friends often leave flowers or other items at the memorial in memory of their loved one who died at that spot. Usually at least the first name of the person is painted on the memorial.  I wonder if the real grave is also decorated in the individual’s memory.

Frequently, these memorials are crosses. Often the cross is white but not always. I wonder why the cross is chosen as the symbol to mark the spot.

Often graves in military cemetaries are marked with crosses as indicated in John McCrae’s poem, the first lines of which are:

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below
.

Seeing the roadside memorials here remind me of the ones I saw during a bus trip across Russia. There the memorials are used to give directions … something might be said to be at the third cross out of town. I doubt if anyone in my area gives directions by the local memorials.

Evidently crosses have been associated with death for a long time. The Romans crucified Jesus on a cross but the two thieves who were also crucified that day were hung on crosses as well. It is a little puzzling to me that a symbol which represents new life to many is also a symbol of death until I think about that one special death on a cross. It can definitely be a signpost on the highway of life, pointing to a new direction.

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