Wednesday, November 21, 2007
It is funny how you can hate a piece of metal. Scarred and unbent it stood as a silent reminder to a tragic night. A traffic pole, just a piece of metal with no emotions or feelings except those it wore in the messages of grief and remembrance of a friend and schoolmate taken too young.
I have passed that traffic light many times on assignment to West High since that night and saw the black marks it bore from the impact that night, like a scab over an old wound. I often wondered about how terribly hard it must be for students, faculty and family to pass by that reminder every day.
But then I think on how that pole became a rallying point for their grief, how they prayed around it and how they mourned around it. I think it became more than just a piece of steel on the side of the road.
Through the following days it would become a memorial of sorts as students and friends would leave messages to their friend and the story of their friendship everlasting was engraved upon it.
Today on assignment I saw the city had removed the original pole, a new shiny piece of steel stood in its place free of blemishes and reminders of the accident. Already it bears writings to their missing friend. I know there has been talk of what to do with the original pole, to create a memorial or some other remembrance with it.
I am torn. I can feel the need to remember Mike in some way but his life was more than a piece of steel, more than one metal pole. But I also remember all the grief and suffering from that night and sometimes wish that pole was removed from the face of the Earth. That light pole isn’t the only thing to bear wounds from that night. I don’t know what will happen but whether the pole is made into a memorial or turned to scrap I know we always have our memories and that is stronger than any piece of steel.