Remembering Abigail, two years later


This is a slight revision of an entry that appeared a year ago. It will stay at the top of the home page through Saturday night -- scroll down for more new entries.

Please read this, read the earlier articles linked below, and please pray for the Litle family and the families of the other victims through this season of remembrance. And pray for real, lasting peace in Israel.

Saturday is the second anniversary of a suicide bombing of a city bus in Haifa, Israel, which took the life of 16 innocent people, including Abigail Litle, the 14-year-old daughter of Philip and Heidi Litle, college friends of mine. In memory of her, I invite you to read an article I wrote shortly after the bombing, and an article by her dad, written a month after the attack, about Abigail's triumphant faith in Jesus.

Remembering Abigail, a victim of hate

Remembering Abigail, a victor in faith

In a letter to friends and family just before the first anniversary, Phil told us how Abigail's school planned to remember her and a classmate who died in the attack:

Heidi has focused for the past weeks on the upcoming one-year remembrance of Abigail's death. The Jr. High and grade school have begun a month emphasizing the value of human life. During the course of the next month in the Hebrew calendar they intend to discuss subjects such as how to cross the street with care and why not to use drugs. They will mark the anniversary of the bombing on the first of Adar (February 23rd) with a memorial ceremony and a march to the site of the bombing. During this month the school has planned a hike in memory of Yuval -- Abigail's classmate who was killed -- and an exhibition of Abigail's art at the school.

Heidi has been very involved with the administration in setting up this program, particularly in helping select and frame Abigail's work. The school has taken the song The Power of a Moment by Chris Rice as the theme of the exhibition. The page from Abigail's calendar on which she drew two clouds kissing as they partially cover the sun while rain falls, watering a tree and which included her paraphrase of Chris's song, will be the centerpeice of the exhibition. The school has translated the song into Hebrew. This translation will be displayed along side her drawing. During the course of the month, the students will study the text of song in their literature classes.

While holidays and days of remembrance follow the Hebrew calendar, most people here think in terms of the Gregorian calendar. So on March 5th we will hold a one year memorial service at the grave side. Children from school and officials from the city as well as members of our local congregation are planning to attend. Our children want to be involved in doing something to remember their sister. We've talked some about what we want the time to include, but there is still much to think about -- with a lot of that falling on Heidi to work through.

To read more about Abigail:

Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a page about Abigail.

Here is an account of her faith and how it was expressed through her funeral.

Here is a Jerusalem Post story about the bombing, with links to other stories.

And here (scroll down toward the bottom) is an editorial by Israel's consul in the Midwest US:

Abigail Litle, also an American citizen, who died at 14. She was one of 17 innocent civilians killed (and 53 injured) by a homicide bomber while riding home from school on a Haifa bus March 5th. Litle, like so many of the 772 innocent Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism and violence, was simply involved in a normal activity in her daily life-coming home from school. She was not aware that her life was at risk simply because she was riding a bus with her classmates. The bomber alone made the decision that it was her time to die a horrible death.

Litle, the daughter of the representative of the Baptist Church in Israel, had lived in Israel since infancy. She lived in Haifa, a town with a large Arab population. Abigail had been part of the Children Teaching Children program at the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva since last September - a program that teaches pluralism, tolerance and coexistence. They and their classmates were preparing for the upcoming meeting with Arab youth from a neighboring town.

Abigail personified the promise of a future where Jews and Arabs could coexist peacefully. She worked for dialogue and understanding between Christians, Jews and Muslims. She truly embodied a spirit that anyone seriously concerned with achieving a just peace in the Middle East, would do well to emulate.

Keep the Litles in your prayers, and pray for real peace (not just a phony "peace process") for Israel.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 6, 2005 1:35 AM.

Borscht and a cake from Brooklyn was the previous entry in this blog.

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