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Zackaël’s Roadside Memorial on the 323
“Memorials tell the story of lives taken too soon. They are personal statements bearing witness to a life lost and they act as a memento to others both to offer a moment of quiet reflection on the significance of the fragility of a person’s life, and as a heeded warning of dangers we have become too complacent in noticing.
Roadside memorials are folk art created out of love and grief. Unfettered by regulations or cost, they are creative acts, restorative acts in the face of destruction. They allow the remembrance to be matched with the death; the death happened in public, the memorial needs to be public, in the very venue that is so intimately connected with the deceased, the place where he died. And since the death was sudden, unexpected, and maybe senseless but not unique, roadside memorials let people know that a particular person, an individual, was alive. They say, we will not let you die unnoticed, you are valuable, you deserve to be remembered. And they invite the world to join in.”A quote Brigitte found from http://www.debate.org
After looking online for examples of memorials, Brigitte came up with a design to honour Zackaël at the site of the accident. Our good friends Aris and Andrew generously offered to help us with the coordination and installation of the memorial. Brigitte forwarded the design to Aris who took the lead and coordinated with her friend Chris, whose company Ercon Welding was able to create a metal structure that would be solid enough for the side of Highway 323.
On Saturday November 7th, after picking up the structure from Ercon, Andrew and I drove to the site. I had found the accident site on Google maps with information from the accident report. When I got there, the surroundings looked unfortunately familiar. In case there were any doubts that we were indeed at the right spot, in the ditch I found the plastic shell of one of the rear view mirrors and a piece of the roof rack from our van.
Two more friends, Tony and Mike, met us at the site to help with the installation. This was no minor undertaking as the iron monument was very heavy and even had rebar at the bottom of the legs to allow it to be poured into concrete, keeping it stable. Andrew’s engineering skills and general know-how came in very handy. A huge thank you to Aris and Andrew for helping us with the creation of the structure and to our friends for the installation.
This was my first time back at the accident site and it was great to have the support of my friends. We are very happy on how it turned out. Brigitte did an amazing job with the design and planning of everything, including little details like solar lights, lanterns and glow-in-the-dark pebble rocks so the structure will be visible at night. It really all came together very nicely. She also had a large printed photo of Zackaël, with a different photo on each side (see pictures below).
If you ever drive on the 323 and have time to stop and/or take a photo, especially at night, please let us know. We would love to hear your comments. Click on this link for the exact location of the memorial. Please note that it is eastbound, so it will be on your right if you’re going towards Tremblant. (If you stop and see any snow on the solar lights, we would appreciate if it could be removed so the light can absorb the sunlight.)