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Empty Chairs - Oklahoma City Bombing

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Below is the poem entitled Empty Chairs - Oklahoma City Bombing which was written by poet James Tate. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Empty Chairs - Oklahoma City Bombing

A deluded and deranged miscreant.
Rode in a rented Ryder truck,
Sadistically opposed to his government,
He delivered a two-ton bomb.

After parking the fateful vehicle,
With time fleeting and fuses lit,
He fled to his car,
Parked, not far away.

Hearing the explosion, he made his escape,
With a gleam in his eye.
One hundred sixty-eight victims died,
Leaving countless loved ones behind.

April 19, 1995,
A date that lives in infamy.
The guilty one was caught that very day,
And eventually paid his life for the reprehensible deed.

The Oklahoma Ctiy National Memorial 
Now graces the ground
Where the Alfred P. Murrah
Building once stood.

A lone American Elm tree
Survived the blast,
A symbol of resilience,
And the will of mankind.

Hopes of closure for the victim’s families
Followed the perpetrator’s death six years later.
But closure will not fill the empty chairs
Left in the footprint of the building.


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  1. Date: 3/10/2011 11:55:00 AM

    The families do find comfort when one who has taken the lives of their loved ones is punished, James. Still, there is that emptiness that is left behind. I remember this day so well and the horrific act will live on in history. You told the story so well in verse. Did you lose someone to the bombing? My college debate partner was killed at the World Trade Center. Can't locate his wife and child now, but I suspect there is an "empty chair" at their table now. Excellent!!! Love, Carolyn