The response of the American people to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey last month shows us at our best. From giving generously to hurricane relief funds, to traveling from afar to join search and rescue efforts, the American people have come together to help the victims of this historic natural disaster.
But it wasn’t only the hurricane’s survivors that inspired this kind of compassionate response. Every effort has been extended to find the bodies of those who didn’t make it. We have a deep human need to bury our dead, to memorialize their lives, and to visit their burial places over the months and years that we grieve for them.
This same human instinct will bring thousands of Americans out this weekend to memorialize the victims of another great human tragedy. On Saturday, September 9, at more than 170 cemeteries and church grounds throughout the United States, solemn prayer vigils will be held in observance of the fifth annual National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children. Many of these memorial services will be held at gravesites across the country where the remains abortion victims have been buried.
On the Day of Remembrance, pro-life activists will tell their stories of recovering the bodies of abortion victims from dumpsters and pathology labs, and fighting to give them a proper burial—sometimes even being sued by abortion providers in the process. Mothers and fathers who regret choosing abortion will share their testimonies. Grieving parents and grandparents will publicly mourn for the children they have lost.
All those taking part in these Day of Remembrance services have found within themselves a sympathy for the unknown, unnamed victims of legal abortion—a sentiment not so different from that which is moving the entire country to mourn for the victims of Harvey right now. We hear the names of Texans being added to the death toll—and though perfect strangers to most of us, our hearts break over all the suffering caused by this natural disaster.
But the victims of the unnatural disaster of abortion don’t even have names for us to remember. They have no legacy we can honor. Their taste of this life was so very short. Even their deaths were hidden from sight, their bodies discarded as medical waste.
And yet, on the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children this Saturday, we recognize that—just like the victims of Harvey—all the unborn victims of abortion were our brothers and sisters. The child aborted at 8 weeks whose perfectly formed feet will never take a first step. The child aborted at 15 weeks whose only baby picture is a “graphic” image on a pro-life poster. The nearly 60 million children we will never know, but whose brief, hidden lives still matter to us.
And as we mourn for them, we will pray that the same capacity to sympathize with strangers from afar, so wonderfully exemplified by our fellow Americans these past few weeks, will one day be extended to all our unborn brothers and sisters—that one day we will come together as a nation to mourn for the unborn victims of abortion.