USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941
A friend reminded me this morning that today is Pearl Harbor Day. 69 years ago – December 7, 1941 – the United States was attacked by Japanese forces. On that one day, 2,402 Americans were killed or wounded.
How quickly these important dates of our history begin to fade. Several generations have been born long enough after this day and the war that followed that the date doesn’t bring up the memories and emotions that it does for those who were living at that time – those often referred to as the “Greatest Generation”.
“Where were you when Pearl Harbor was bombed?” would have been a common question asked by that generation.
“Where were you when John F. Kennedy was shot?” was a common question of the next generation.
And today’s generation commonly asks “Where were you when the towers fell?”
Each of these moments in history bring up powerful memories and emotions for those who lived during those times – and often for their children, as they hear the stories and see and hear the emotion in their parent’s eyes and voices – and we should never forget what each of those moments mean for us personally and for our country.
We should remember the sacrifices made by our men and women in the armed forces. They put their lives on the line to protect our freedom, and often to protect the freedoms of other countries.
We should give thanks for those who give themselves to serve their country in political positions. Their influence is felt in our lives daily.
We should honor those who serve in the police and fire forces. They chose to run into danger in order to save those who are unable to save themselves.
We must never forget. . .
I wonder, though, as these events fall further and further into recent and then not-so-recent history, what else we forget – could it be that we forget things that happen around us every single day?
Have we forgotten the 4,000 pre-born children who will lose their lives to abortion in America TODAY?
Have we forgotten the 4,000 women who will be wounded by their abortion experience in America TODAY?
Have we forgotten the 4,000 fathers who will lose their fatherhood in America TODAY?
Is it possible that these numbers have become so common-place for us that they have lost their meaning? We’ve heard them so many times, and we know they are true, but we don’t experience the loss personally. Perhaps it’s because we don’t see the faces of those who were lost – just as those of us born long after December 7, 1941 cannot bring to mind the faces of loved ones lost on that terrible day. Perhaps it’s because we can’t see what that number represents – how do you get your head and heart around 4,000 pre-born children dying every day? How do we grasp the knowledge of 4,000 dead babies and 4,000 walking and wounded mothers and fathers and what that means for us individually and as a society?
I am saddened by the fact that while December 7 holds historical significance for me, it does not hold the personal significance that it does for my mother and her generation. I wonder if I miss some of the importance of the events of that day because I cannot relate to the experience.
Likewise, I am saddened for those who know the numbers and facts related to abortion and other pro-death activities such as embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia, and assisted suicide, but who have not internalized what those numbers and facts represent – people who see the pro-life movement as an import “cause” but who do not grasp the people that the cause represents.
Could it be that you are missing a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, friend, colleague, neighbor or other relationship in your life? Although I cannot prove it, I’ll bet you are. Who knows how much our lives would be different if we could know the people who are missing – not just know that they existed, but know them as people? How different would we be if those unknown people had been there to influence us, to help mold us into the people we have become?
I also wonder if we truly understood the atrocity of abortion, would we be more diligent in working to eradicate this evil from our society.
I’m challenging you today. Think about the loss of life – on December 7, 1941 and on every day in the United States. Take some time and allow yourself to experience grief. Grieve for the lost soldiers and their families who were forever changed because of that day. Grieve for the lost children and their families who will be forever changed because of today.
I’m also going to challenge you to action. The day following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States declared war on Japan. Such a great attack could not be left unanswered. How can we leave such a great attack on our nation’s pre-born children and their families unanswered?
Have you joined the battle to end abortion? Ours is a peaceful battle, but it is a battle none-the-less. May I suggest that you start by joining the local battle to end abortion in Greater Columbus? Become an active participant in local pro-life advocacy and education. Support the work of your local Right to Life organization – with your time, your talent and your treasure. There’s a place for you here.
For information on how you can volunteer with Greater Columbus Right to Life and support our efforts to build a community that protects innocent human life from conception until natural death, contact Ruth Yorston at GCRTLife@gmail.com.