“Read this,” Sherry told me Monday as she handed me several printed pages. “We’ve been given a citation and will appear in the Senate chamber Wednesday. See if you want to come.” My stomach flip-flopped. I’d expected some increased opposition after the murder of Dr. Tiller but I couldn’t imagine what we could have possibly done. “What is it about?” I asked, my brows knit together, perplexed. Sherry smiled easily, “It’s for our service to the state and community in saving lives.” I blinked. Wait. The citation wasn’t bad?
I told the family at supper. “It’s a citation for good work,” I explained. Papa leaned back in his chair, an enigmatic smile spreading across his face. “I got a Police citation once.” Three heads snapped quickly to look at him. “It was a citation for aiding in the apprehension of a criminal. They called me a hero.” I raised my eyebrows. “Tell us about it.” And he did.
See, when I was a wee little bairn, we lived in Hutchinson, Kansas where Papa worked as an electrical technician at the Kansas Cosmosphere. Before it was such a big deal. In fact, you can still see his work in the displays as well as several space suits that Mom sewed for the manikin space walkers. One day, Papa was working on a bicycle on the screened patio when he heard a ruckus. As he opened the screen door to see what the noise was, here came a policeman in hot pursuit of another man. As Papa started to close the door and turn away the policeman yelled “Stop him!” Papa opened the door right in front of the fleeing criminal who lost his footing and tumbled to the ground as the officer of the law dived on top of him with handcuffs. That was that. After loading up the hand-cuffed man the police officer stopped by the thank Papa. “I want to give you a citation,” he said, in spite of Papa’s protest that he hadn’t done anything. “You did more than most people would have done.” By the time Papa arrived at work the next day, he was heralded as a hero.
Mom was giggling from across the table as Papa finished his story with his disclaimer, “The policeman was the real hero.” “Tell them what it was the guy had done,” were Mom’s words. Papa grinned too as he remembered. “Well,” he said slowly, “He’d stolen a pizza.”
Now see? I always knew my dad was a hero, even if he didn’t tie Superman up in his own cape like he once told me.
Today, Crisis Pregnancy Centers all over the state of Arkansas were given a citation for their dedication and service in saving lives—both women and babies. It was my first time in my new home-state’s capitol building, and I turned circles gazing up at the marbled pillars and stairways before we entered the Senate chamber for the simple ceremony. In fact, we were some of the only people there, due to congress being out of session for the summer. It was brief and quaint, but it’s something that’s never before been done in Arkansas. Perhaps never in the nation. Recognized by the government for the effort to save lives. Just after Dr. Tiller’s murder. Just when we expected to be blasted with a smear campaign and redoubled efforts to close our doors.
We’ll hang the certificate in the clinic and take comfort knowing that we have friends in congress who will do their best to uphold the rights of the unborn and the interests of abandoned women from the side of politics.
Praise the Lord for such an encouraging reminder!