Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Rose Rally

Tallahassee, Florida
March 13, 2005

The Rose Rally began at 3:00 PM at the old capitol courtyard in Tallahassee, Florida. The windy day event brought forth a few thousand people in support of Terri Schindler-Schiavo. Terri, a 41 year old disabled woman awaits her death penalty on March 18, 2005 at 1:00 PM; a death penalty imposed upon her by estranged husband Michael Schiavo. Shiavo who was only married to Terri for 5 years before her unexplained tragic accident has petitioned the court for an order to remove her feeding tube and kill her by starvation and dehydration.

Looking out at the captive audience which filled the capitol courtyard, I could recall the days when Terri had only a few local supporters sitting around a dining room table fighting for her life. Today, in Tallahassee, there were a few thousand new faces from all over the country in support of Terri. Sara Lewis, a long time friend and supporter of Terri, looked over at me and commented, "How different it is Cheryl to be at an event for Terri with so many new faces we don't know." Even the guest speakers were new to Terri's fight, Tom Gallagher, Gary Cass, Kate Adamson and others.

Terri's plight began 14 years ago Robert Schindler commented upon his turn at the podium. "Two years ago, we had only 5 supporters in the court room, today the court room is filled. Our family is very grateful to have so many people fighting for our daughters life." Mr. Schindler then paused, regaining composure while wiping tears from his eyes when he talked about how they were again reliving a time from the past when their daughters feeding tube was removed in October 2003.

The Schindlers' determination to fight for their daughters life has been relentless. However, it was obvious to those of us who are so close to them to see how tired they are. The fear, pain and torture associated with fighting for their daughters life has definitely taken its toll on their physical presence. As the days rapidly pass by before Terri is scheduled to be executed by the Florida courts and her estranged spouse Michael Schiavo, the Schindlers speak out louder in support of their disabled daughter. Once again, they plead for the help of President Bush, Governor Bush and other government officials to help save their innocent disabled daughters life.

The Rose Rally speakers each delivered their powerful messages about how important it was for all to come forward and fight for Terri. Though each speaker presented a loving and caring message for Terri, Sara and I knew how each of their new faces would not have had their chance at the podium without the tireless efforts of Terri's former attorney, Ms. Patricia Anderson. Due to illness, Ms. Anderson was not able to attend the rose rally to deliver her message for Terri. Though missed in her absence, her presence was still felt throughout the rally.

On Monday morning, as each legislator arrives for work, they will be presented with one long stem red rose with a message attached. The message reads, "By Court Order, do not feed or water. However, keep this rose in a dry vase until all signs of life are gone." A rose will serve as a simple reminder of the urgency of Terri's fate that lies in their hands.

Visit Terri's site: