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White Crosses

My boy and I were riding our bikes early this morning and came across a local church that is standing up in Brandon, displaying old whitewashed wooden crosses in memory of the 748 South Dakotan children who were aborted in 2006. Just across a very narrow stretch of road on the other side of the display is a cemetery, filled not with wooden crosses, but crosses made of stone. Most are inscribed with the date that someone came into this world, then a dash that somehow represents an entire lifetime, and finally a date that they passed on. Most are decorated and adorned with flowers, frequented stops along life’s busy highway for those left behind who choose to remember and celebrate a life once lived.

There’s no real difference between the wooden crosses here or the stone crosses there, except that on one side of the road, those crosses are recognized to represent people, human beings who once lived. And on the other side of the road…they aren’t. One side was granted the right to life, the other wasn’t. Nothing separates them or makes them any less human.

In fact these crosses on this side of the road are an offense to some people. There’s no flowers, no mourner to lovingly care for their upkeep. They are so abhorred that in recent years these little crosses have been yanked out of the ground in the night and thrown in the river. Do you wonder why it is that they strike such a tender chord, why some are so unable to stand for what those crosses stand for, why they are more inclined to tear them down and throw them away rather than see them for what they represent?

So what if we could give each whitewashed cross a face? What if we could see the child behind the symbol? Would we be so quick to dismiss them then, to throw them away if we could look into their eyes? If we could hear just one of them speak, just one audible giggle, would we stand up for them?

What if on this busy stretch of road as we zoomed to work we looked over to our amazement at 748 toddlers, 2-year-olds, unsupervised, unchaperoned, with no teacher or guardian in sight? Only inches from the street, would we be concerned for their safety? Would any of us stop to make sure one of them, so young and innocent, didn’t wander into the oncoming traffic?

In 2003, the year my daughter was born, there were 819 abortions in South Dakota. Today, she is 5 years old. She smiles, she cries, she laughs, she loves, she mothers over her new puppy, and she is an amazing speller. She eats up attention and she’s an expert at Eskimo kisses. Today she’s very excited because she gets to paint her toy horse in rainbow colors.

So today we see these crosses, and hundreds of choices that were made to end the life of a child, and one child who was given another choice, a right to life, just like you. In the image below, what do you see? Do you see one child or two? Of course you see that beautiful little American girl with rights, but do you see the little boy or girl that she’s holding onto, that child that wasn’t given the choice?

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