We started the day at the Youth Rally in a massive stadium with nearly vertical floor to ceiling seating. On the large stage below, the Matt Maher Band played loud Christian music and got the thousands of teenagers to sing and chant along. The Rally included a testimony from keynote speaker Elizabeth McClung. She held the kids’ attention with her stories of sidewalk counseling in Austin, Texas. Afterward, came Bishop Loverde’s Mass. As the line of priests and seminarians processed in, row after endless row of white robed men marching solemnly up the stage to bow before the altar, I stood in awe as I always do when I see so many people who have offered their entire lives in complete commitment to God’s service.
Although this was not my first time attending the March for Life, it was my first time chaperoning twenty eager and energetic middle-schoolers - the logistical issues of which kept me feeling very distant from the fifty-five million aborted children for whom I marched on this freezing day in Washington D.C. However, in the end, it was this rambunctious group that rekindled in me the meaning and purpose to this peaceful protest.
After the Rally, we drove our students to D.C. and waited on the mall for the March to start. (Brr!) As we joined up with the other marchers, I felt familiarity settle over me. The people and their cheers and banners were as consistent as last year and the year before - changing only in number.
As we walked through the cold and the crowd, the kids I kept a wary eye on slowly changed my attitude from ennui to renewed wonder. What was familiar to me was new to them and a reason to rejoice and cheer. So many people! So many pro-life proclamations! When we reached the top of the hill I turned around. Like every year, my breath caught at the sight of the multitude behind us. Pro-life marchers packed the street from side to side and though I could see down twenty blocks I couldn’t see where the crowd of marchers ended.
Five hundred thousand. The number was easy to say, but I could not fit that scope of people in my mind, even looking down at them from the top of the hill. So many people, so many individual lives all come together in one place - and each marcher represented more than one hundred children dead through abortion.
It is a strange but wonderful fact that though Roe v. Wade has cornered our laws for 40 years, I had to look hard to find a marcher that age or older. Most of the people were children - children speaking out for the children who cannot speak.
Truly, as one large banner proudly proclaimed, we are the Pro-Life generation.