Let Us Come Together To Mourn Our Dead — on 9/11 AND on 9/13

R.I.P.This morning I turned on the radio in my kitchen to hear a series of names being solemnly intoned—the names of some of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks we commemorate today.

It’s very good that we do this. It gives me hope to see Americans set aside their differences, rise above the mean-spiritedness that characterizes so much of our politics and culture, and come together to mourn the victims of 9/11. It seems that we’re at our best when we mourn our dead.

Degrees of Separation

I never knew any of the 2,977 people killed on that horrible day. But like so many, in the days and weeks following the tragedy I discovered I was two or three degrees of separation from some of them. Those connections made the horror and injustice of 9/11 that much more real to me.

Hearing those few names on the radio this morning, I had to wonder who I know who knows someone who knows the man still mourning his fiancee, the teenager who has no memory of the father he lost, the widow whose life will never be the same.

But how many more connections must I have—must each of us have—to the 56 million American victims of legal abortion over the past four and more decades?

Making the Tragedy of Abortion Real

That’s a question that will be on my mind this Saturday, September 13, during the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children, taking place at the burial sites of some of these children, and at other memorial markers erected in their honor.

I’ll be emceeing the memorial service at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois, where earthly remains of 2,033 aborted babies were buried in 1988.

Unlike the 2,977 victims of 9/11, we do not know the names of these innocent victims of abortion. We cannot remember what they were like—we cannot know what their lives might have meant to us.

And that’s why it’s so important to visit their graves. There are few ways to make abortion real to us—not just a hot-button topic, an electoral issue, a moral problem, but the real, personal tragedy that every single abortion is.

When you stand on consecrated ground, contemplating the tiny bodies under your feet, those lives take on a greater reality for you. What would have been each of these children’s first word? Or favorite color? Or worst subject in school?

What would they be doing now, if their lives hadn’t been snatched away so many years ago?

Unnamed, but Not Unloved

Though we cannot tell off the names of the victims of abortion, we do know that each of their lives was precious; each of them mattered to God. They were—and are his children—though their earthly lives spanned only a few weeks.

If God loves them, then we should, too. But love isn’t just a feeling—true love inspires us to act for the good of the beloved.

That’s why pro-life activists buried these children in the first place at over 40 burial places throughout the country—the only act of love they would ever be given this side of eternity.

That’s why other memorial markers—hundreds of them—have been erected in memory of the aborted unborn all over our land.

A Hope for the Future

It’s an oddity that the number of innocent people killed on September 11, 2001, closely parallels the number of innocent unborn children killed each day in abortion clinics in the United States, as many pro-life commentators have pointed out.

It’s as if the 9/11 terrorist attack is taking place every single day in abortion clinics across the country. Terror in the womb.

I pray that one day we will mourn for these children as we mourn for the victims of 9/11—that our nation will come to its senses and abolish legal abortion for good.

When that happens, the healing over our great national crime of abortion will begin—including mourning as a nation for the victims of abortion as we today mourn the victims of Al Qaeda.

But until then, we who have a heart for the unborn child must show the way. That’s what the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children is all about.

Come and help our nation recognize the humanity of all our aborted brothers and sisters, repent of the sin of abortion, and embrace the promise of Christ: “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

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