Last week Michael and I took a mini-vacation so we could be part of history in the making. I had personally been aching to attend the March for Life for the past several years and (thanks be to God) I finally was able to fulfill this dream. Not only that, but Michael and I were able to experience our first March for Life together! I cannot even put into words how much it means to me to be married to a man who is on the same page when it comes to protecting life, living and carrying out pro-life values, and following the teachings of the Catholic Church. Today marks 4 months of our marriage and I am still in awe and thanking God and the Blessed Mother constantly for leading me to Michael.
Because of Michael's work we weren't able to arrive in Washington D.C. until late Thursday night, which meant we were unable to attend the vigil Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (perhaps we can cross this off my 'to-do' list sometime in the future). However, the ultimate event we traveled to D.C. for was the march itself so I can hardly complain. As someone who has been unable to attend
We began early Friday morning by walking about 15 minutes from our hotel to Constitution Hall for the 19th annual National Prayer Service, which serves as a memorial for all the pre-born as well as their mothers and fathers. This event had come to my attention earlier in the week namely because Father Frank Pavone, Director of Priests for Life, was one of the founding members 19 years ago. Fr. Pavone spends much of his time traveling to parishes and spreading the word to others about the pro-life movement and how they can get involved. We were blessed to host him right here in Michigan at our parish the weekend before the March for Life. He is a dynamic speaker and after hearing his homily 5 days before the March Michael and I both knew we wanted to hear him again in D.C.
The prayer service that morning was an interfaith event that united all of us as we prayed for the unborn and heard testimonials from one married couple involved in the Silent No More campaign. Despite the fact that this prayer service was (considering how many pro-lifers were in town) relatively poorly attended (there were at least a few hundred people there when in reality that entire building could have been bursting at the seams), it was powerful. God was truly watching out for me as I decided to take a brief video clip of Fr. Pavone's speech because He helped me capture the moment when every single person erupted in applause and gave Father a standing ovation. The sound on the video hardly does it justice because in person it was bone-chilling and beyond inspiring as everyone cheered and brought his speech to a momentary hault. Check it out:
I believe it was immediately after I stopped recording this clip that I leaned over to my husband and whispered, "That man is going to be a Saint someday...and we received Communion from him." I still get worked up when I think about all of this.
After the prayer service we made sure to get a filling brunch and stock up on water before heading to the rally site for the March. Lo and behold, as we made our way to the National Mall we ran into herds of other pro-lifers marching down the closed off streets. We happily joined in the crowd as people chanted and standers-by acknowledged us from the sidewalks with applause and calls of, "I see you! Get it!"
We arrived shortly after noon (the time the rally portion of the day began) and although the Mall wasn't yet filled from side to side it was an exciting feeling to join in the several thousands already in attendance. As we wandered around admiring banners and signs we got nearer to the stage so we could see the speakers on one of the jumbo-trons. As we heard various speakers and watched inspirational video footage the Mall quickly became the temporary home of about half a million pro-lifers. HALF a MILLION. When the March began it took us over a half hour just to exit the Mall and get on the road because we were seriously packed between the shoulders of others fighting for an end to abortion in our nation.
Despite the fact that we couldn't feel our toes, fingers, or various other limbs from the freezing cold, the March for Life was everything I could have dreamed it to be. The sheer ocean of half a million people pouring through the streets was enough to probably terrify anyone in support of abortion in this nation (which I'm confident is one reason the mainstream media provides next to zero coverage of this massive event). In fact, I had prepared myself mentally for the end of the March where pro-abortionists are known to line up with their own signs, yelling insults to pro-lifers as they walk by. When we actually encountered these people I thought to myself, "are you kidding me? This is all they have?" I saw maybe 15 individuals holding pro-abortion signs and attempting to insult us with their presence but all I could do was smile and pray as those 15 people had to stand there and watch HALF a MILLION people pass by them. If the topic of abortion weren't so serious the scenario would have been almost laughable. More than anything, though, I prayed for those 15 people because in all honesty they seemed...confused. One young woman held a sign that made zero sense and only sounded as if she were degrading herself as a woman which made me ponder how many pro-abortion women this also applies to in our country. Her sign, which was supposedly trying to support and encourage abortion read "F*** Bi*****, get abortions!" If anyone can possibly make sense of how this is supposed to paint the anti-life movement as somehow being in support of women, I'd love an explanation.
While the "pro-choicers" at the end of the March left me somewhat confused by their signs, the half a million people I marched with left me feeling hopeful and determined. One of my favorite moments of the entire March for Life was when we passed a street corner with about 7 little girls yelling this chant:
thank-thank your mama!
Your mama chose LIFE!"
Did I mention that this was being yelled by 7 little girls? One of the best parts of the March for Life is seeing the youth in attendance. In fact, the marchers are overwhelmingly teens, young adults, and young families. The young people in this nation are fed up with how many brothers, sisters, and friends they are missing today because of Roe v. Wade. They can see it...so why can't Washington? I am confident that as these young people grow up already educated about abortion and what it really is we will someday end abortion in this nation. Until then we'll keep praying, educating ourselves and others, and working to support and love mothers facing unexpected pregnancies by giving them real medical information, treatment, support, and choices that don't cause them unnecessary physical or emotional harm in the ways abortion would.
40 years of legalized abortion and 55 million children killed are 40 years and 55 million too many. If you know someone who feels they have no choice but to get an abortion, encourage them to call 1-800-395-HELP (4357) or 1-800-848-LOVE (5683) to receive information about centers in their area that can do more and do better for them.
|My favorite photo I took at the 2013 March for Life|