By Jacki Ragan
Most of us can remember where we were and what we were doing on important dates — landmarks so to speak—such as September 11, or when singer-songwriter John Lennon was shot. For those of us who are a bit older, it might include when President Kennedy was shot.
So, where were you on March 31, 2005? Do you remember it every year? Is it a “landmark” in your life?
2013 marked the eighth anniversary of the death by starvation of Terri Schindler Schiavo. The beautiful young woman was denied food, water, and, in her final days, the comfort of her family. And all this in America, land of the free! While pro-lifers across the nation prayed, wept, and kept vigil, Terri passed away from this world. And the lives of so many people were forever changed. Mine was one of those lives.
Now, every year, as March approaches, I remember the days and weeks leading up to Terri’s death. I remember the court battles, the countless prayers, the tears, the disbelief, and the looks on the faces of the Schindler family as they realized their daughter and sister was going to die by starvation in America. She had done nothing wrong, except survive.
March 31, 2013, fell on Easter Sunday. So “Terri’s Day” was held on Friday, April 5. I had the honor of being in attendance. It was a beautiful event, well organized, well attended, and a wonderful tribute to the daughter and sister of the Schindler Family.
The family took some of the artwork done by Terri and had it framed. She was very talented. This wonderful artwork was on display April 5, and it was so touching to see the wonderful talents of this young lady.
Speaker after speaker addressed the tragedy of Terri’s death and the wonderful things this family is doing to help protect other people in similar situations. The list of speakers was long and dignified and included Governor Sarah Palin, Wesley Smith, J.D., Brother Paul O’Donnell, her brother Bobby Schindler, and others.
The parent’s of “Baby Joseph” Maraachli were the recipients of the very first Life and Hope Network Award and they, along with their son (Joseph’s big brother) were there to receive the award. The family successfully fought a lengthy battle just so they could bring their critically ill baby home so he could die a peaceful and natural death with this family around him.
We also learned that the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network is working to establish the Terri Schiavo Neurological Life & Hope Centers to provide care for brain injury survivors and support for their families. Among the people in the crowd to applaud that work were many war veterans both old and young.
There was a wonderful supportive video from movie actor Gary Sinise and a video by Glen Beck. Mr. Sinise praised the Life and Hope Foundation for the life saving work they are doing and how it would save countless lives in the military.
Mr. Beck addressed how he began his radio program saying, “just let her die…enough!” And one Friday he received a telephone call from a soft spoken gentleman asking him to please take the week-end and consider his position and determine if it fit in with his other beliefs with the fact that he said he was pro-life. Mr. Beck said by Saturday, he knew he was wrong and he knew he had to change his position on air.
And so he did. Mr. Beck expressed how no one should be judged for their rush to judgment on Terri’s case, saying that people who say the same thing he said (“just let her die…enough!”) are not evil, just misinformed. He ended his presentation by asking everyone to help support the work of the Schindler family.
I left feeling inspired to continue doing just that. We must all continue to defend vulnerable human life. And I hope for more and more people March 31 becomes date landmark date it should be.