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The church, the state, and Coca Cola

In North America you occasionally see along a highway a white cross that marks where someone was killed in an auto accident.  There may be a few flowers or minor mementos, but it is usually not much

In Chile, though, these memorials, or Animitas, are quite a prominent feature

In my driving trip north from Vicuņa to Copiapo along Route 5, I photographed more than 30 of these--and had to bypass many more than that.  Sometimes there would be one every kilometer or so





They range from simple affairs




To quite elaborate, substantial productions

Like this one, which occupies a whole promontory




Or this one, with elegant, elaborate tile work and architectural integrity




Some are forlorn and look forsaken




Others bear evidence of loving care and attention





They may be bland





Or colorful




But three components are present in many of them

A cross




A Chilean flag




And a Coke bottle




Some have all three



The messages displayed vary from


"Your memory will always live in our hearts"



To imagined dialog

"Your prayers will be listened to.  Seņor God prays for us"

"I am God Your lifelong friend"



To wry commentary


"Here lie two loving idiots..."





"Smile, Christ loves you"





Some are straightforward and easy to pass by





Others invite commentary





The message may be scrawled casually on almost any medium





Others are handsomely engraved





Or scribed in concrete




or with stone chips laid on the ground

Browse more in the "Animitas" gallery

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