Rep Smith: Nellie Gray, inspirational right-to-life warriorAugust 22, 2012 No Comments
August 22, 2012 / MariaNews.com
Nellie Gray, inspirational right-to-life warrior
By Rep. Chris Smith, Published at The Washington Times - In the passing of Nellie Gray, the founder and president of the March for Life, the nation has lost a great human rights champion who dedicated the latter half of her 88 years to defending the most basic human right: the right to life.
For nearly 40 years, Nellie sought to rally and unify defenders of life. She never wavered from this goal, even this year calling upon “all grass-roots pro-lifers and government officials to unite because any abortion is untenable.”
Nellie first learned of abortion while reading a novel that described an abortion in which the baby was partially delivered and his skull crushed. That vivid picture of the brutality of abortion stayed fresh in her mind, so it is not surprising that she, like so many of us, was devastated when in 1973 the Supreme Court legalized abortion right up until the moment of birth. Years later, she wrote in a letter, “By abortion, a pregnant mother is hurt and a preborn is a torn-apart corpse.”
Nellie’s life was characterized by service to her country. She served as a corporal in the Women’s Army Corps in World War II and earned an undergraduate business degree, a master’s degree in economics and a law degree. She worked as a civil servant in the Departments of State and Labor for 28 years. It was her patriotism and an abiding sense of duty that drove her to retire from the federal government early so that she could help lead the effort to restore legal protections to the preborn.
At Nellie’s first March for Life on Jan. 22, 1974, I, along with thousands of others, gathered in the nation’s capital believing that the innate cruelty of Roe v. Wade would be rejected by compassionate Americans, including politicians. But like many human rights abuses, abortion continues. Decades later, it is clear that Nellie’s commitment to the cause has helped shape a robust, sustainable, persevering and effective pro-life movement. The great March for Life hatched in her living room went on to become the nation’s largest annual pro-life gathering.
Related: Nellie’s funeral liturgy will take place at St. Mary, Mother of God Parish in Washington, D.C., on Friday, August 24, 2012 at 11:00am. St. Mary’s is located in Chinatown at 727 5th Street NW, Washington, DC. There is limited seating in the church so please plan accordingly.
Friends may call at the church to pay their respects on Thursday August 23, from 6:00 to 9:00pm. There will be a Vigil Service at 7:30pm on Thursday, presided over by Fr. Alfred Harris, Nellie’s pastor, followed by a eulogy delivered by Pastor Luke Robinson of the Quinn Chapel AME Church in Frederick, Maryland. Pastor Robinson is a long-standing supporter of the March for Life and a devoted friend to Nellie. There will also be a visitation period on Friday morning from 10:00-11:00am, just prior to the funeral mass.
More information on funeral: http://marchforlife.org/
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