National Day of Remembrance Speech
Not long ago, I took an afternoon off of work and visited a local museum.
when I saw her… floating, naked and upright, in a jar of formaldehyde.
The label on the exhibition card read “Female: 23 weeks”.
There was a small crowd that stood studying her.
noticed that I was becoming uncomfortable and increasingly disturbed…. I
felt an overwhelming desire to run because my heart seemed to be
telling me that something was terribly, terribly wrong. I think it was
the eyes of the on-lookers that troubled me initially. They held no
emotion. Yes, they saw the white body, the paper-thin skin, the
life-less, half-closed eyes. They saw the delicate limbs, the fingers
with fingernails grown to the ends of the fingertips, but they gave no
hint, no outward sign that they felt anything.
And then a
strange and unique sadness swiftly overcame me, and I cried out to God,
in the chambers of my heart, with an internal voice intended to reach to
the ends of the earth … it was emotion that finds difficulty in
expressing the anguish of taking a child and turning it into a display.
child’s umbilical cord was still attached, long ago cut away from her
mother and I whispered, softly, “Oh, Little One”. And love just poured
from my heart for this child, now reduced to a specimen, an object.
There was grief…it mixed with tears and formed a deep ache in my heart
for this life unlived, for this life that had become a spectacle.
is your story, Little One?” I wondered. Surely, if these onlookers
knew even a small part of it, their eyes might soften? But your story
is hidden, it’s lost to all.
And it was next that my thoughts
turned to the millions of aborted children—their stories also hidden and
lost. I couldn’t help but think how precious each human being is—how
large the scope and magnitude of one life… and I pondered… what have we
lost? Who have we lost? I just held my face in my hands and tears
spilled into them; despair wound about me like a snare. Grief consumed
But there is strength and hope that is born from within. And
so I reached beyond my tears and I re-wrote, in my mind, the exhibition
label of that baby girl in the jar. I rewrote, in my mind, the stories
of every single aborted baby girl and boy who we memorialize today.
This new label read: “Forgotten by the world: Known by God.” And my
eye, which joined with God’s, saw that this little girl in the jar was
beautiful, that every child is fearfully and wonderfully made.
know, do we not, that her life as well as the lives of the millions of
babies we mourn here today are recorded in a Great Book. This Book
contains the names of every child, each known and loved by God, made in
His likeness, loved since the foundations of time. In this Book, in the
memorial of His heart, no child is lost, nor is he forgotten.
And what might we say to each of them today? Might we say….
Little Ones, if we could, we would lay you on soft, white linens on a
perennial bed, a wooden lair, carved with flowers and tiny bells. In
your hands we’d place a little doll– a gift for the journey ahead. And
we would whisper to you that we would not forget you.
walk you to a haven of peace and beauty, a place strewn with flowers
just like those carved on the tiny, doll-size casket in which you
rested. Birds would fly above, in the spaces between earth and heaven,
their melodies joined with the choirs of angels. We would tell you,
Little Ones, to listen carefully, for their songs tell of His promise of
Love. Then, with peace reigning in our hearts, we would cover you with
an earth-rich blanket, leaving you in that Holy place—that sacred
ground-- set apart for God’s children who wait on Him together.
“We would do this for all of you, for your sake, Little Ones.”