Grieving Family Asks for Memorial to Remain
Posted July 20, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
DURHAM — They serve as a painful reminder of the victims of crimes and accidents. But some people want roadside memorials off the road. Durham's City Council took the issue up Monday night.
Council members didn't come to the meeting to talk about any specific memorial, but the public hearing wound up focusing on the cross in memory of Christopher David Page.
On the day her grandson would have turned 19 years old, Lois Sturgis and her daughter, Donna Hall, prepared to address Durham City Council members and tearful request the memorial for Christopher David Page be left alone.
"The people are complaining about it, and they're saying they want to clean up their neighborhood," Hall said. "They need to start with the cause of why that cross is there."
Page's mother and grandmother are afraid the memorial is in danger of being permanently removed from the spot where Page was violently shot to death last November. Neighbors complained the memorial was an unpleasant reminder of trouble and problems in the community.
City council members responded by proposing an amendment to remove any signs or obstructions that pose a safety hazard on the city's right of way. Some neighbors say that's just one of the problems brought by the memorial.
"If this makes a bad name for our community, we respectfully ask that she be requested to take it off," explained resident Francis Fullwood.
But on the other side, some say it's a matter of a family's first amendment rights to grieve.
"This marker on this road was put up by an individual whose first amendment exists for individual rights," Leslie Dunbar argued.
"All I want you to do is just leave it there because we're still grieving," Hall cried.
The vote doesn't necessarily mean the memorial for Christopher David Page will have to go. The decision allows city council members to examine all other memorials on an individual basis to determine whether they pose a safety hazard.
Over the past several months, the Page memorial has been mysteriously removed. Sturgis and Hall say they plan to put up another memorial Tuesday.