The setting of this is on the river side of a wide, sweeping curve on an extremely dangerous piece of a very short highway known as Montana 135. In a canyon along the Clark Fork river and noted for sharp curves and frequent patches of ice, it’s now classified as a Scenic Highway, with the forested mountains of two roadless areas towering over it on both sides: it’s a beautiful but lonely place.
Since 1953 the American Legion has been installing small white crosses at the sites of fatal traffic accidents all over Montana as a sober reminder to “Please Drive Carefully”. Over 2,000 have now been erected.
Although the program is intended to be a safety program and not a memorial program, many families will place decorations on the supporting poles as a memorial to a loved one who was lost in an accident. At first I objected to the decorations, thinking them to be a distraction from the safety program, but after reflecting for awhile on some, like this one, I’m beginning to think that maybe they carry an even more powerful message than just the simple plain white crosses. It’s difficult to get this image and everything it represents out of my thoughts, and perhaps I do drive a little safer as a result.
(A few days ago I was reminded of the crosses by this post by Preston Surface on the Surface & Surface Photography blog site: Highway 99 Road Monument)