Lynn C. Price
AN EMPTY WHEELCHAIR
I traveled back home as I do every year, to watch our Veterans Day Parade,
There’s nothing more precious than hugging a Vet and thanking them for sacrifices made.
From the corner of Main to the outskirts of town were ribbons of red, white and blue.
Flags on each light post and building downtown, symbols of America’s gratitude.
The bands start to play as our Veterans march, wearing their faded BDUs,
Some are on crutches and some have lost limbs, but each one proudly salutes.
There, near the end, behind the last float, was a man pushing a wheelchair,
As he rounded the bend of Maple and Elm, I noticed that no one sat there.
Who was this man and why did he care, to walk with such a heavy load?
Quietly I rose to follow the band and learn ‘on whom’ honor is bestowed.
Down at the booths where coffee was served, I gingerly approached a Hero.
“Sir, I give thanks for Veterans like you, but there’s something my heart has to know.
Do you sit in that chair when your burdens too much? Or, is it for someone you’ve lost?”
My heart broke apart as tears filled his eyes, “Ma’am, this kid paid the high cost.
He and I served in the jungles of ‘Nam. A sniper put a bullet in his back.
Although he came home long before me, he and I never lost track.
All through the years we met when we could and sometimes we carried each other.
Death took its toll just one month ago. Ma’am, this kid was my brother.”
Out in the west as the sun starts to set, a lone Eagle silently glides by.
There in the shade of a huge oak tree, a story was shared of their life.
What greater love can one brother show, on this, most honorable day?
Though he is gone, a brother’s never forgotten and marches in Heaven’s parade.
We left with the promise to meet here next year, blessed by the moments we shared.
With one final look back, I couldn’t help miss the salute from that less empty wheelchair.
©Copyright November 13, 2006 by Lynn C. Price
Author’s Note: In Loving Memory of Robert William Hill, My Father, My Hero ~ December 25, 1928 – August 2, 1993. Navy Veteran, WWII, and all Veterans who march in Heaven’s Parades