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Thousands of gravestones spot the lush green lawn of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, but one is different than the others. There is no name carved on it, and no date of birth. The plain gray marker simple states, “Twenty Three Unborn Children, Victims of Abortion.  Laid To Rest May 3, 2008.” These lines are followed by a verse from Scripture: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Today, September 13, is the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children, and a few dozen people cluster near the grave of the nameless innocents as the pro-lifers dedicated to protecting their brothers and sisters in the womb speak at a microphone set up near the site. One of them calls them “Hodari’s babies,” a reference to the fact that these children were chopped up, shredded, and dismembered at Alberto Hodari’s Woman Care Clinic in Lathrup Village, Michigan. I feel mildly unsettled that little children can be so thoroughly orphaned by all those naturally related to them that their only remaining identification is the name of their killer.

I’m at the memorial service with my friends Dr. Michael New and Dr. Jacqueline Harvey, both pro-life statisticians. Dr. Monica Miler, a long-time activist and pro-life historian, Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., and Rebecca Kiessling all say a few words. A soloist sings a haunting version of “The Lord Hears The Cry of The Poor.” A few sing along. Most stand and silently reflect, hunching their shoulders against the wind and huddling together for warmth. The frigid wind seems fitting somehow, reflective of the collective cultural coldness that permits us to abandon so many of our pre-born brothers and sisters to freeze in dumpsters behind abortion clinics. The memorial service closes with the singing of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;

He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:

His truth is marching on.

This seems to invigorate everyone a bit, and we file past the grave to pay our respects, nodding to each other with the warmth that comes from camaraderie and a shared mission.

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My friends and I leave the cemetery and drive to Detroit’s Assumption Grotto Cemetery. More children butchered in the name of the pro-choice American Dream are buried here, with a gravestone sombrely reminding passersby that the abortion nightmare continues. “Abortion Legalized Jan. 22, 1973” it reads, “18,763,680 Deaths As Of 11 AM, June 18, 1985.” There is a follow-up inscription, too, as pro-lifers interred more abortion victims here later: “32,000,000 Deaths As Of July 1995.”

More activists are gathered here. I sit down next to Lynn Mills, a long-time activist whose record includes discovering the evidence that put Dr. Jack Kevorkian behind bars. Members of the clergy file up to the microphone, one by one reminding us that our job is not finished, that the work is enormous, and that being called to love our pre-born neighbors will make our born neighbors very uncomfortable. People nod at each other. No news there. They file up to the grave one by one, and lay red roses at its base. Red for love, red for blood. Red for remembrance.

It’s good to pause sometimes in our fight to stop abortion, in our fight to still the suction machines and silence the grimly clanking forceps of the abortionist. To pause, briefly, and remember those untold millions of tiny boys and girls that we could not save. To acknowledge for a moment that their existence was significant, and their brutal departure unjust. To rededicate ourselves to the task ahead. I hear people murmuring to each other, making plans to head to abortion clinics across the city on Monday morning when the barbarism continues again. There is hope here.

One aging bishop, taking the microphone, perhaps encapsulates what everyone is thinking: “America, I love what you could maybe be.”

What could maybe be. Thinking on that possibility, we part ways.

Reprinted with permission from CCBR.