The sound of my alarm going off at 6:40 on the morning of Friday, January 25th, was not, surprisingly, an unwelcome one, despite having gone to bed a mere 5 hours earlier. Why? Because today we were going to march for life.
My journey to the 40th annual March for Life had begun in the mid-afternoon the day before when I left UVA grounds with a group of 5 friends and fellow lifers to attend evening mass in DC. Although the conversation in our car was light, we knew the weight of the cause for which we were en route to support.
Hey, hey, ho, ho Roe vs. Wade has got to go!
Since the legalization of abortion with Roe vs. Wade in 1973, over 50 million “lawful” abortions have been performed in the US. The plurality of these abortions, 32%, has been undergone by college women. Additionally, abortion is not an “equal opportunity” killer, as African American and Hispanic babies are more likely to be aborted than white babies.
Statistics aside, Roe vs. Wade makes the most tragic of crimes legal: the murder of a child by his or her own mother.
We arrived at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception before mass had formally begun. The Basilica was packed, and although our seating was not ideal, it was exciting to see the large and diverse group of people that had gathered there in the name of life. Ultimately the tone was that of hope, as the Homily given that evening denounced how modern culture had ceased to honor life, but celebrated the fact that more and more people are becoming prolife, and that a record number of people were expected to march the next day.
Afterwards, we retreated to the home of a fellow student where we were generously served a delicious Polish dinner and stayed overnight. Several servings of goulash, a hearty conversation, and a few hours of sleep later, we were off to George Mason for a prolife rally! There we met up with others who had left the university that morning. We grabbed our seats in the Mason auditorium, where we temporarily relieved ourselves of the many layers of clothing with which we were bundled to brave the cold in DC later that day. During the rally, we were all pumped up with chants of LIFE… IS... VERY… GOOD!, Matt Maher, incredible speakers like Elizabeth McClung, and mass celebrated by Archbishop of Arlington Loverde (whose homily didn’t fail to touch every heart in the room as he related that he was born prematurely – at an age when many children are still aborted).
Once the rally ended, we attempted to exit, trying but not entirely succeeding to avoid the mass chaos of pro-lifers. We drove to the metro where we were met with even more people and chaos, but finally, an hour or so later, we arrived at the Mall where we joined the march! We were amidst more than half a million people in the form of college students from all over the States, couples, Catholics, non-Catholics, Religious, children, and elderly – if there’s something the pro-life cause is besides the Truth, it’s universal.
During the march, we sang hymns (were awed when elegant tufts of snow began to fall) and prayed the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet – reminding us that while the event was quite exciting, our true purpose there was to fight for life – and that it is impossible to do so without Christ.
All too quickly, we reached Capitol Hill and effectively ended our trek, thus beginning our journey back to university life. Yet, I doubt anyone who has experienced the March for Life can leave without feeling their ties to the pro-life cause strengthen and grow. The March for Life is a powerful event in which we encounter a fundamental beacon of the Truth: the dignity of human life. Let us hope that we may be able to carry this Truth with us beyond the March, that it may pervade not only our sentiments but our actions, such that the prolife cause may not be in vain, but reap the fruits of a re-found respect for human life.