By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative/PAC Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
Each year when the coldness of winter is just about to settle in, I return to Bedford Falls, NY, where the town streets are wrapped in a blanket of snow and the ivory lights glistening in the trees signal the celebration of Christmas.
It is my December destination because I want to spend some time with George Bailey, the town dreamer, who mapped out plans of seeing Italy, Greece, and the Parthenon, but ended up sacrificing it all to stay in his little corner of America and help his family.
I want to journey with George, who is contemplating suicide, as his guardian angel named Clarence shows him what the world would have been like, had he never been born. George’s brother Harry would not have grown up to be a military hero, saving the lives of his fellow servicemen. Instead, Harry would have died at the age of nine, the victim of a tragic accident–drowning after falling through a layer of ice–because George wasn’t around to rescue him.
So it was not just one brother that George had saved–but a band of brothers. As Clarence tells him, “Every man on that transport died. Harry wasn’t there to save them, because you weren’t there to save Harry.”
Clarence introduces George to a surreal world in which his first employer ends up in jail…his uncle forever emotionally broken…his wife alone and without children…and his hometown a Hell hole…all because he had never been born.
Clarence says, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
George’s daughter Zuzu had prayed, “Please bring Daddy back.”
And after seeing Bedford Falls through the eyes of a stranger…and viewing the devastation of a world without his presence… George recognizes the immeasurable value of one life–his one life.
“Clarence! Clarence! Help me, Clarence. Get me back. Get me back. I don’t care what happens to me. Only get me back to my wife and kids. Help me, Clarence, please. Please! I want to live again. I want to live again. I want to live again…..Please, God, let me live again.”
And in all its cinematic splendor, the film “It’s a Wonderful Life” concludes with George being reunited with the many who love him, whose lives have been touched and transformed by his.
Though it was released on Christmas Day over 70 years ago, the movie communicates a transcendent truth which so many in the U.S. need to hear today, amidst the tragic push for doctor-prescribed suicide and the traumatic ordeal of mothers pressured to give up–just as their babies are growing inside them.
“You see, George, you’ve really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?”