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story.lead_photo.caption Rachel Smith, 8, of Etterville, places a red rose on top of the memorial stone Saturday during the seventh annual National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children at St. Andrew Church in Holts Summit. The service was organized by three national pro-life groups: Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Priests for Life and the Pro-Life Action League. Photo by Sally Ince / News Tribune.

Area residents hoping for the eventual ban of abortions across the country gathered Saturday to mark the seventh annual National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children.

Those who came to the Memorial Site for Aborted Children at St. Andrew Church in Holts Summit were part of a national effort organized by three national pro-life groups — Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Priests for Life and the Pro-Life Action League.

"You know, the government is spending a lot of time preparing the country for the Census, and we hear how important it is that everyone be counted," said Msgr. Robert Kurwicki, vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City. "I think of how many others could have been counted but are now being counted because of abortion. The best pro-life cartoon I ever saw had individuals shaking their fists at God saying, 'Why don't you do something about Alzheimer's, AIDS and other diseases and bringing peace to the world?' Then God says, 'I did, but you aborted them.'"

Kurwicki said they were praying for those who, because of their youth or because they were facing terror and pressure, had abortions. While they defend life, he said, they are merciful and will accept those also who have had abortions and love them back.

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"Abortion has real victims: the 60 million American children who have lost their lives to abortion since 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court made abortion legal with Roe vs. Wade," said Kathy Forck, one of the organizers of the Holts Summit remembrance. "We will never know these unnamed victims of abortion, but we will never forget them — or stop calling on our society to cherish the life of every unborn child."

Gunther Skaletz, a Holocaust survivor who lives in Lake Ozark, spoke passionately about his belief prayer was powerful enough to change the hearts and minds of people.

"Life is not a commodity; life is a precious gift from God," Skaletz said. "We should embrace each and every day because we take so much for granted. I pray for the millions of homeless children, the orphans, because at one time, I too was an orphan. Prayers are very powerful and can give life. I wouldn't be standing here today if it weren't for prayer."

The first National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children was held in September 2013 to mark the 25th anniversary of the burial of several hundred abortion victims in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Memorial services were held at 38 burial places of abortion victims nationwide, as well as scores of other memorial sites dedicated to these children. The Day of Remembrance is now held annually on the second Saturday in September.

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