BY MELANIE BUCK –
‘Operation Safe Prom Night’ was held at the Polk County Fairgrounds on Wednesday, April 6th for all county juniors and seniors, prior to their annual proms, which began last weekend with Cossatot River’s prom. The Operation Safe Prom Night event was held to warn students of the dangers of prom night and about drinking and driving. A full-scale operation was held with members of the Polk County Emergency Management, Mena Fire Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Mena Police Department, Polk County Coroner & Air Evac, and Southwest EMS.
The emergency service personnel reenacted the consequences of impaired driving by simulating a wreck and the deaths of those involved. The scenario was complete with extracting passengers from the ‘wrecked’ vehicles, transferring the ‘injured’ by helicopter and ambulance, and the ‘deceased’ by hearse. Students at the event could be seen in tears as they watched the horrific scene unfold. Those in attendance also heard a reading of the chilling poem known as ‘The Drunk Driving Poem’ that brought tears to eyes as well. The poems real title is ‘Death of an Innocent’. The poem was written by an unknown person and has resonated with millions across the globe.
Polk County Emergency Management Coordinator, James Reeves said, “The operation ran smoothly and I want to thank all the different agencies involved. If we saved even one life by performing this exercise, we served our purpose.”
The poem, Death of an Innocent, follows here in its entirety:
I went to a party, Mom,
I remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom,
So I drank soda instead.
I really felt proud inside, Mom,
The way you said I would.
I didn’t drink and drive, Mom,
Even though the others said I should.
I know I did the right thing, Mom,
I know you are always right.
Now the party is finally ending, Mom,
As everyone is driving out of sight.
As I got into my car, Mom,
I knew I’d get home in one piece.
Because of the way you raised me,
So responsible and sweet.
I started to drive away, Mom,
But as I pulled out into the road,
The other car didn’t see me, Mom,
And hit me like a load.
As I lay there on the pavement, Mom,
I hear the policeman say,
“The other guy is drunk,” Mom,
And now I’m the one who will pay.
I’m lying here dying, Mom…
I wish you’d get here soon.
How could this happen to me, Mom?
My life just burst like a balloon.
There is blood all around me, Mom,
And most of it is mine.
I hear the medic say, Mom,
I’ll die in a short time.
I just wanted to tell you, Mom,
I swear I didn’t drink.
It was the others, Mom.
The others didn’t think.
He was probably at the same party as I.
The only difference is, he drank
And I will die.
Why do people drink, Mom?
It can ruin your whole life.
I’m feeling sharp pains now.
Pains just like a knife.
The guy who hit me is walking, Mom,
And I don’t think it’s fair.
I’m lying here dying
And all he can do is stare.
Tell my brother not to cry, Mom.
Tell Daddy to be brave.
And when I go to heaven, Mom,
Put “Daddy’s Girl” on my grave.
Someone should have told him, Mom,
Not to drink and drive.
If only they had told him, Mom,
I would still be alive.
My breath is getting shorter, Mom.
I’m becoming very scared.
Please don’t cry for me, Mom.
When I needed you,
you were always there.
I have one last question, Mom.
Before I say good bye.
I didn’t drink and drive,
So why am I the one to die?