Ever so gently I’ll pull this carriage.
My task is no burden for the honor is great.
With courage and pride he died for his country,
So with dignity and grace, I will carry him home.
With each strike of my massive hooves
His soul will soar in the heavens above.
In the years to come may you remember this day,
With memories of a giant black horse,
That gently bore your hero to his final rest
Down the lane, slowly I’ll go.
Times weren't always good, especially in the early days of Wellington Carriage. One day after paying $230 to have Mike shod, I called my sister, Kathy Schmidtke, very discouraged. I said to her, "Kath, I've paid all this money for these horseshoes and they are just sitting in a pile." "Can you figure out a way I can make money with them?"
A few days later she called me back and said, "This won't make you any money, but here is what you need to do." She went on to tell me that she had written a poem from Mike's perspective. I needed to print and laminate the poem, paint the horseshoes black and present them to the families after a service.
Well, I did it and they went over like wildfire. Next thing I knew, I was out of horseshoes, but the families went away from the service with a keepsake of the day. As the number of funerals we did increased, I knew I had to find some other way to present this touching poem to the families.
I came up with the idea of printing a picture of the coach and poem, personalizing it with the name and years of birth and death of the person, framing it and presenting that to the families. That too, has been met with tremendous response. Even though I include at least a dozen extra copies, many times, I receive requests for more.
In 2005, when I began honoring America's fallen troops, I changed a few lines of the poem to represent the pride and courage which these brave men and women exhibited in dying for this country.
Thus, I feel the poem above sums up exactly why we do what we do.
Copyright 2009 Lorraine Melgosa