Why Do You See White Crosses On The Side Of Montana Roads?
Travelling through Montana, on a main highway, or a backroad, you could come across a white cross or many white crosses in a cluster on the side of the road. These crosses are to mark traffic fatalities in Montana. To bring awareness to the fact you are on a dangerous stretch of road.
How It All Started
From Montana Right Now, Cutbank Pioneer Press and Montana Legion, it was started back in 1953 with the American Legion. It was called, The White Cross Program, changed to the Fatality Marker Program in 2007. It was the idea of Floyd Eaheart, a member of Hellgate Post #27, after 6 lives were lost in that area over the 1952 Labor Day Weekend. It started out as a program for the county, and eventually morphed into a statewide practice. It was first endorsed by Montana Governor J. Hugo Aronson, and every governor since has approved of the project.
There are right around 2,500 markers scattered on road sides across the state.
How Do you Get A Highway Marker
You would contact your local American Legion Post. They're who install and maintain the crosses. However, not every town has an American Legion Post. If you don't have a local chapter to contact, call 406-324-3990. You can also go to MTLegion and leave a message there.
I Know Some People Who Now Have A Cross
One set of crosses around Conrad are for friends that I had in highschool that died in a crash when we were about 16.
There's a Fatality marker by the road around Dupuyer for my cousin, Delbert Breding. Delbert was killed in a car accident while ranching about 13-14 years ago. There's a fantastic memorial for him at the site of his wreck.
It's hard to see these crosses and remember those who have died.
I think that's the reason for these markers. To make us remember the lives lost, and to pay just a bit more attention when you're on the open roads of Montana.
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