Following a complicated course from conception resulting from acts of brutality....
To traumatic birth in the midst of a long and bloody labor resulting in tremendous loss of life....
Emerging from the womb a vulnerable infant - yet lying deep within, the potential to realize great deeds and even greater hope for the future: The dream of a father as he holds his newborn son and imagines the possibilities of where this child could lead his family, his community, his nation.
The United States of America is just such a child.
Conceived by the Founding Fathers in an act of sedition - retribution for acts of violence and injuries committed against a people - and birthed on a battlefield stained with the blood of tens of thousands of men willing to sacrifice their honor, their wealth - their very lives - to give that needed breath of life to the newborn child unable to take it on its own.
These men dreamed of freedom, not only for themselves but for their children and their children's children, for anyone who felt that visceral tug to partake of the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Throughout the generations, countless others have sacrificed all they had to ensure that this child, the United States - their brother - continued to breathe.
This was their legacy.
The republic is still in its infancy, a mere 233 years old. Sadly, we face the possibility that it may never reach adolescence, let alone maturity. Too many have stopped the actions needed to keep breath flowing in and out. Some have decided to steal that breath, rather than to give it.
Resuscitative efforts have stopped, the Code Blue called to an end, the coroner notified to retrieve the remains. We have not two pennies to place upon your eyes.
What would an autopsy reveal?
Cancer, undiagnosed and untreated, metastatic and allowed to spread until all vital organs have become overwhelmed and shut down, one by one.
Bedsores, ignored and allowed to suppurate and grow, septicemia spreading through the entire system via its very own blood flow, the infection too burdensome to treat.
Edema, unrelieved during illness, weeping from the skin, bloating the body until features are unrecognizable.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, stifling the flow of blood from the heart, the great muscle working harder to meet the body's needs until finally collapsing.
Perhaps worst of all, cerebral atrophy, the cerebrum the center of thought and function, learning and memory, and most significantly, communication.
My deepest apologies to this infant who, if conceived under similar circumstances today, would have been ripped from the womb before birth without second thought based on the very nature of that brutal conception, let alone the "inconvenience" of providing care or even comfort, your having been "unwanted" by so many in the first place.
You deserved so much more, so much better, yet you were denied what you needed by the very same brothers and sisters responsible for your care, the same ones who would have been unable to refuse that care had it not been for the sacrifices of the fathers and those of your siblings throughout your life willing to place your needs and wants above their own, providing the right to protest against your very existence.
Jesus wept for Lazarus, as we do now for you, those of your brothers and sisters unwilling to allow you to pass quietly into the night.