Reflections on the candlelight vigil for Dr. Tiller in Wichita May 31, 2009

I know many people have written about Dr. Tiller’s murder. I know that his death will galvanize and polarize those who supported as well as those who disagreed with his beliefs and actions. I did not personally know Dr. Tiller, but I was compelled to attend the candlelight vigil last night.  I was impressed with the civil, thoughtful, compassionate assembly.  Those in attendance were kind to one another; members of Dr. Tiller’s church passed out candles and walked through the crowd of around 400 people relighting candles that were blown out by the wind.  Strangers stood side by side and shared their sadness, their determination for the future of women’s health, their fears for the future, and lit and relit one another’s candles.  People met and embraced friends who shared their sadness at this tragedy. I left when the singing began with a greater appreciation for Wichita. I appreciate both diversity and conviction. I keep being surprised by both here. I appreciate the careful, thoughtful way those who spoke talked about Dr. Tiller’s life and contributions to the community and to women’s health choices in general. I appreciate the courage of conviction and ability to look at the bigger picture of those who spoke.  It’s always easier not to make waves, to choose the safe, nonthreatening path.  Dr. Tiller lived for years consciously, publicly taking the most difficult of paths, living the courage of his convictions. I am saddened that such a tragedy occurred in my adopted city. I am heartened by those who attended and spoke at Dr. Tiller’s vigil.   In the face of a tragedy, Wichitans in Old Town last night pulled together in thoughtful compassion and proved that the actions of one man did not reflect the views of many. On balance, Wichita earned positive marks from me yesterday.

3 responses to “Reflections on the candlelight vigil for Dr. Tiller in Wichita May 31, 2009

  1. Pingback: Observations on the vigil

  2. Very, very well said.

  3. Well said, indeed. I teared up reading this – I’m so proud of the way Wichita came together on Sunday. Thank you.

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