Jim Terry
October 9, 2016
The magnitude
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By Jim Terry

My wife and I visited Washington, D.C. in the spring of 2001. It was not my first visit. In 1972 and 1980, I was there on political business, which didn't leave me much time to see the interesting and historic Washington. This time, with my wife, I visited most of the major sights. At the White House, we saw a group of young sailors involved in the Hainan Island incident gleefully marching out after their visit with their commander-in-chief.

We visited the Library of Congress, the second largest library in the world and our oldest federal institution, which today, houses more than 162 million items. All those items occupy 838 miles of shelves. That is approximately the distance from one end of Texas to the other. We attended a dull session of Congress; read our founding documents at the National Archives; toured Ford Theater and the room where Lincoln died; took in the Smithsonian. The Washington Monument was closed for repairs. We walked the National Mall from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. We paid respects at the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Across the Potomac, we visited the graves at Arlington National Cemetery. And we went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

I was in my mid twenties when the war in Vietnam was being executed. It was a war escalated by Robert McNamara, secretary of defense under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Daily reports of the war flashed on our television news programs. We saw the combat films, the bloody scenes of battle, every night for a decade. Vietnam was not a declared war, but it was so closely covered by the news media it was called the "television war." The website https://reportingfromthebattlefield.wordpress.com/vietnam-the-television-war/ says, "There were more images of conflict and battles in Vietnam than any previous war."

I, like most people of those times, became numbed by the constant news from Vietnam. But, in 2001, as we approached the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which lies in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, that numbness faded. We watched ourselves approach the black wall in its shiny reflective surface; the magnitude of America's waste of young lives hit me.

Numbers, by themselves, don't always convey to us the magnitude of what they represent. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall- 246 feet, 9 inches long- contains more than 58,000 names of Americans who died in a war, which we still don't understand forty-three years after it ended. As we stood before that stone wall with the names of all those men and women who gave their lives looking back at us, the magnitude of their sacrifice became real.

The other night, I watched Governor Mike Pence and Senator Tim Kaine debate some of the issues facing our nation and the next president.

Near the end of the debate, a question was asked regarding the candidates' faith. Kaine responded that he, like his religion, opposes the death penalty. But, he added, that as governor of Virginia, he had to enforce the law, even the law on the death penalty. Governor Pence responded to the question and presented his faith-based view on protecting the unborn.

In a follow-up, Senator Kaine, a Catholic who supports abortion, referred to the 1973 Supreme court decision, Roe v Wade, which made abortion legal, and said, "...we have some young people in the audience who weren't even born when Roe was decided."

This was a missed opportunity for Governor Pence to tell the country the magnitude of our national disgrace: Yes, Senator Kaine, there are young people in the audience who weren't even born when Roe v Wade was decided. They are blessed, because 58 million Americans weren't even born because of Roe v Wade. Put another way, the number of babies killed since Roe v Wade is 45 times the number of Americans killed in all the wars this country has ever fought. That's the magnitude of our national disgrace.

© Jim Terry

 

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Jim Terry

Jim Terry has worked in Republican grassroots politics for 40 years. Terry was an administrative assistant to a Republican elected official in Dallas for twenty years. In 1996, he ran for and was elected to Justice Court 2 in Dallas County where he served eight years. Contact Jim at tr4guy62@yahoo.com

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