Today, April 19, is the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. The tragedy was so horrifying, I didn’t think I could ever visit the national memorial and gaze upon that slope filled with chairs representing the bombing victims.
However, when I attended the convention of the National Federation of Poetry Societies (NFSPS) in 2007 in Oklahoma City, I had the opportunity to make a side trip to see the memorial. Yes, the experience fingered the wound in my memory, especially going through the nearby museum devoted to the event; but the transformed bomb site itself was peaceful, sad but lovely. I was always intrigued by the idea of the chairs, and a little haunted by what they represented; but they also are so very appropriate for a memorial of that type.
Prompt: Write about a memorial chair. If you wish to honor the anniversary of the bombing and the victims by writing about those chairs, please do so. However, you can also choose another type of chair that honors someone’s memory. It could be a memorial bench in a park; a bench-like monument in a cemetery; the chair where your grandfather always sat; even an empty swing in a playground (which can represent so many things). Read the words to the “The Vacant Chair” to see a Civil War example of writing about a chair and an absent loved one; you can also hear this song in this YouTube video:
(Read more about my visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial on my personal blog.)