Like December 7, 1941 for the “Greatest Generation,” no one alive at the time will ever forget where they were when they heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. For me, it was a college geography class, one of the few classes in the country that did not immediately dismiss. Thus, visiting the September 11th memorial recently combined anticipation with solemnity.
The focal points of the memorial are the fountains located in the footprints of the two fallen towers. These fountains are ringed with a bronze rail into which all the names of the victims are carved. This includes those who perished on September 11th at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, and aboard Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, as well as those killed in the 1996 World Trade Center bombing.
Of course, some names stand out from the rest. Few are more famous than Todd Beamer, as his words—“Let’s roll”—succinctly captured America’s resilience, resolve, and defiance in the face of the terrorists’ villainy.
Others—such as the name directly above Todd Beamer’s—stand out for a different reason. Also aboard the heroic Flight 93 was Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas. She was one of eleven expectant mothers killed that day, and her name—like the others—is followed by the simple phrase: “and her unborn child.” In this way, the memorial acknowledges that when each of these ladies died, not one but two lives were lost.
Sadly, many today insist that these unborn children are not human, are not persons, and are not entitled to legal protection. When abortionists rob them of life, many in our culture pretend as if nothing happened. But when they instead fall victim to terrorists, we not only recognize the loss, we properly commemorate it publicly in our monuments. At those moments, none of the legal gymnastics embodied in Roe v. Wade prevents us from seeing the self-evident truth that all life is sacred, from the moment of conception forward.