Friday, January 25, 2008

Reflections from the March, part 3

Monday, January 21st was my friend Kristen's birthday, which provided an interesting lens through which to examine 35 years of legalized abortion. Kristen is much younger than 35, which means that her parents could have chosen abortion legally and never given her the gift of life. Celebrating birthdays of those who were born after 1973 is a reminder that their life is truly a gift. I have friends who were almost aborted for various reasons, and knowing that their parents chose life is not only a gift for their child but also for those who their children have touched.

It's a rather interesting proposition to visit a cemetery on one's birthday, but Kristen and I decided to take the Metro to the Arlington Cemetery. More than 300,000 people are buried at this cemetery. Since there were more than 200,000 people attending the March for Life, the thousands of tombstones reminded me of the immensity of such a number.
It was also striking that there were multiple tombstones marked, "Infant" with one day or one year listed. I wish I had taken a picture, but these graves gave such dignity to children who were stillborn or miscarried. Contrast this with the unborn who are discarded in garbage disposals or thrown in the trash.
I was rather taken aback when I noticed the grave of Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun. Justice Blackmun wrote the Roe v. Wade decision and was instrumental in legalizing abortion in our country. I said a prayer in front of his grave and wondered at the impact one person can make on the world -- whether for good or evil. This one justice had such a large impact on our nation, that his work on Roe v. Wade has resulted in 49 million children being denied the gift of life.

While at Arlington Cemetery, we also visited the Tomb of the Unknowns, where the U.S. Army stand guard 24/7/365. Kristen and I watched the five minute changing of the guard ceremony, and I pondered who the three men buried there were. I also wondered if a Tomb of the Unknown Child would be a possibility in future years when abortion is no longer legal in our country. Will we ever have a monument dedicated to the millions of children who are unknown to all except God?

Finally, as I viewed multiple war memorials (Korea, Vietnam, World War II, Marines, etc.) I was reminded that more babies have been aborted than Americans have died in all wars we have been involved in combined. Of course, comparing the current war on the unborn to past wars, the Holocaust or slavery does not negate the horrible tragedies that those losses of life were. It merely gives us a reminder of what a tremendous gift life is and of what a horrible tragedy a loss of that life or that freedom is.
And why is it, I wondered, while standing before the Jefferson Memorial, that our country does not recognize our inalienable rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness? As the area surrounding Jefferson's statue were flooding with tourists and even young people readying for the March for Life, I couldn't help but wonder if the tourists noticed those famous words from the Declaration of Independence and pondered the same question.
More to come ...

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