George Bowers Sr.: Two walls of remembrance
When I was still teaching high school, I always took my leadership development classes on an annual field trip to Washington, D.C. Each year, we endeavored to meet with leaders, sit in on a Supreme Court case, observe government in action, and experience our nation’s capital up close. The day always concluded with a night tour of the many monuments and memorials adorning the city. Even though most students had previously visited many of these locations, there is something striking about touring them after dark and with the able assistance of a professional guide. Students consistently mentioned the tour as the highlight of this trip.
One of the mandatory stops near the end of this tour was a visit to the Vietnam War Memorial. Students and chaperones alike were annually overwhelmed with the magnitude of lives tragically ended by this protracted conflict. The sheer volume of individual names inscribed on the granite walls seems to be endless as the 140 panels stretch out some 500 feet. One is impacted by the enormity of grief and loss and I well remember the night I saw my own father’s name listed there in the shadows. Even though it was another James D. Bowers, it was a sobering reminder that my own dad could well have perished in that war along with many other parents.
I remember the angst my family experienced as we watched the lottery to see if my older brother’s number would be pulled. Thankfully it wasn’t, but many others were. My heart goes out to the readers who have names of friends and loved ones etched there. Walking the tenth of a mile past the 58,286 names of men and women not much older than my students forced us to realize that each of these individuals had a mom and a dad, some had spouses, all had hometowns and each had their own dreams for their future. The sadness and finality of untimely death weighs powerfully when one considers the individual lives of those brave men and women snuffed out entirely too early.
There is another memorial that yearns to be built listing the names of many others whose lives were likewise extinguished much too soon. Instead of it stretching 500 feet, however, if built to the same scale and dimensions, it would be much longer. Although many preborn children are never named, if each of the 58 million aborted babies were, and if each was similarly etched in a wall of remembrance, that wall would extend over 94 miles. Each of these infants had parents and a hometown although they were too young for spouses or dreams. Their numbers were called before they were ever issued and they never even had a fighting chance.
Imagine getting on the interstate at Edinburg and traveling south to Lexington with nothing on one side of the roadway but a long black wall reminding you of the little girls and boys who never got to run and play. Who never got hugged or tucked in. Who never had the chance to defend their country, get an education, or visit our nation’s capital.
By the late 1960s, most all Americans were ready to exit Vietnam and bring our servicemen and women back home. Enough was enough. I pray for the day when enough men and women in this country will feel the same about the scourge of abortion and quit racking up names at the rate of 3,300 per day. I pray for the day when Democrats and Republicans both have the backbone to stand up and say we should not use taxpayer money to continue this barbaric slaughter. Let’s all pray and work to keep this wall from extending one name further and let’s love and care for the moms and dads of those whose names would be on this wall if it were ever built. It’s past time for this to end. Praying, George
George Bowers Sr. is the Senior Pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of seven books including his latest book of poetry, Holy Verses. He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.