Remarks to the Smyrna City Council, October 5, 2020

As prepared for delivery.

Mayor Norton and members of the Smyrna City Council: Thank you for the opportunity to be here today.

I wish I could say it is for a happier reason. But, it is important for those who have lost a child that we pause and commemorate Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

It’s hard to believe more than 51,000 infants die in this country every year.

In 2018, 888 infants died in Georgia alone. That’s more than two every day. Sadly, the infant mortality rate in Georgia is among the worst in the country.

Most people aren’t “influencers,” so the media and the public don’t take notice, but that doesn’t make their loss any less painful.

In fact, all of us probably know someone who has encountered such a loss. My wife, Ruth, and I lost our son three years ago.

A lot of people don’t talk about their loss. They go about their daily routines — going to work, going to the store — and to the outside world, it might seem like they haven’t experienced a tragedy. But, I can assure you, it’s on their mind every day.

It’s a difficult topic to discuss, and many try to steer the conversation to another topic. Believe me, I wish I was here to discuss another issue, but this is one that is important to me.

For parents who have lost a child, there is no day or month to commemorate their loss. It is every day.
We can’t expect to solve a problem unless we can first acknowledge it. Sadly, when it comes to infant mortality, it’s a conversation that makes many people uncomfortable.

A resolution like this will not solve the tragedy of infant deaths in the country. But, it will help raise awareness. And hopefully, that awareness will lead to change.

Thank you for taking the time to pass the resolution.

Let’s hope that we can soon celebrate the end of infant deaths. No one should ever experience the loss of an infant.