Just leave roadside memorials alone, OK? | NevadaAppeal.com

Just leave roadside memorials alone, OK?

Nevada Appeal editorial board

Leave the memorials alone, please. We’re not sure who removed a roadside memorial to one Douglas High School student and moved a memorial to another in recent days, but we don’t really want to start up the debate that peaked over Krystal Steadman’s cross on Highway 50.

The Nevada Department of Transportation doesn’t particularly want to get caught in the middle on this issue again, either, so we don’t believe there was any formal directive to mess with the memorials.

NDOT still doesn’t have a firm policy, but that’s not a bad thing. If common sense would prevail, people could see these memorials for what they are: impromptu, temporary personal expressions of grief and remembrance.

If they’re a hazard, they can be moved. That’s a judgment call. If they lie in the sun and snow for years, they can be removed. Another judgment call. In fact, it’s all a judgment call – as is evident from the wide range of policies in various states over how to handle them.

Some states ban them entirely. Others offer up their own bland state-approved markers – but not a cross, because that would be unconstitutional. A couple of states actually encourage personal roadside memorials, at least in the sense they can stay in place forever.

Although the memorials usually are on public right-of-way, do we really need a government policy to determine how we react to an emotional, human response to tragedy. Have we lost that much of our humanity?

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Remember that in the case of Krystal’s cross, it was the repeated removal of the memorial that made its defenders all the more determined to erect something permanent. By the time an 8-foot steel beam had been built, yes, it was something of a problem.

Be tolerant, please. Let people have their time of mourning. Be reminded that someone who was loved by friends and family died at a dangerous spot in the road, and drive home a little more carefully yourself.