Personally I noticed it at the time of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 when the Liverpool F.C. field was covered with flowers. It now seems to have become something of a national tradition whenever and wherever someone dies suddenly. I agree with you morddwyd we should not forget such things but it is not my way of doing things.
Have we become to mawkish over the last twenty or thirty years?
There forever seems to somebody publicly displaying their grief on television, and if somebody dies on the street, whether from natural causes accident or foul play dozens of people, some complete strangers, are out laying flowers.
While some events were tragedies at the time we are beginning to dwell on them. Here in Scotland barely a week goes by without reference to Lockerbie or Dunblane, or in England Hillsboro, and now Manchester and Grebfell.
Not suggesting such things should be forgotten, any more than the Somme or Tiranic or Senghenydd, but are we beginning to dwell a bit.
Also the fact that the flower collections are never maintained, so the memorial rapidly deteriorates to a collection of plastic bags filled with dead sticks taped to a lamp post.
My answer to your question is a resounding yes.
As a society, we seem to have decided that grief only has any validity if it is on display, for all the world to see.
The very last thing I would want to do is make a show of my personal grief, but I'm prepared to be told that I'm out of touch.
I am sure the answer is yes. Shrines at roadsides., cellophane wrapped wilting flowers are becoming all to common. The worst example was the repeated placing of tributes at the site of the death of a career criminal lawfully killed by a pensioner. Our traditional stiff upper lip seems to be wobbling.
I suppose a good deal of this is an aspect of context. Back in the mid 20th century, we were a country that had become accustomed to large numbers of people being killed - both in combat overseas and, at home, in air raids.
When hundreds of people are being killed on a daily basis, individual deaths are mourned privately because in the overall scheme of things they are not publicly significant.
Nowadays, it's different. We are not so familiar with violent death, and when it comes a lot of people feel compelled to grieve publicly - it's almost as if they want to say 'look how distraught I am'. Others join in - often total strangers, as you said in your opening post. It has become an obsession; someone is killed, so let's turn up with flowers and a message, and (often) stand around for the cameras to film us being upset over the death of someone we didn't know. It seemed to take hold when Princess Diana died - I don't think I have ever seen so many flowers in one place in my life, they covered several acres of ground in several locations. Like hundreds of thousands of others, I visited Kensington Palace before the funeral, and was astonished to see so many people openly weeping and calling out around the gates.
Mass killings - usually by terrorists - are different. They are so horrific, so random, that we feel a genuine sense of outrage at the wanton waste of lives, even though we did not know any of the victims personally. Then it's appropriate to want to find some way to express our collective emotions - often with candle-lit vigils and memorial services, etc.
Manchester, yes. Grenfell, Yes. Heaps of flowers and photographs at the scene of a road traffic fatality? I'm not so sure.
Our traditional stiff upper lip seems to be wobbling.
Being undermined by our loose flabby chin! (The Goon Show)
Did not know you’ve seen my mugshot!
There's a very nice little oasis of calm and serenity in the council-maintained 'Remembrance Garden' near to where I live in Glasgow. Yes, some mourners attach flowers to the outside railings but many people just walk inside the garden and sit down for a while on the benches amongst the marvellously well kept trees, shrubbery, ornamental grasses and flowers and remember their dearly-departed. There is no litter or any sign of vandalism.
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