‘A large Catholic presence’
Thursday night’s drama gave way to an upbeat show of solidarity at Friday’s march. By longstanding practice, neither organizers nor the police provided estimates of the number of marchers.
More than 200 students from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio arrived by bus for the march before 5 a.m. on Friday morning, two students told CNA. The overnight bus drive took more than five hours.
This was the first March for Life for 18-year-old Lucia Hunt from Dallas, Texas, and 21-year-old Niklas Koehler from Ashburn, Virginia. They said the march met their expectations.
“I definitely was looking forward to seeing a whole bunch of people defending life and there’s this huge crowd out there so I’m definitely happy with the pro-life movement,” Koehler said.
“I was expecting a large Catholic presence and so far I’ve seen it, which I’m pretty happy about,” Hunt said. He explained that he’s pro-life “because I believe in the truth, and the truth is that a child is a human being from the moment of conception up until natural death.”
Added Hunt: “Not only is a child a human being, but a human being is also a child of God, and I believe in protecting that life.”
Many of the marchers were there for the first time, including a group of young women from Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I just think we can have more options for people rather than just ending lives,” Millie Bryan, a 17-year-old from Charlotte, told CNA. Bryan was attending her first-ever March for Life, and was toting a sign that read “Stop telling women they can’t finish school, have a career, succeed without abortion.”
She added that she was most looking forward to “getting the opportunity to see the people come together to fight for something that’s really important, to fight for life.”
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Bagpipers and drummers with American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property concluded the march. Members of the group carried waving red flags and reverently carried a platform topped with a statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
“There are still a lot of people here. It’s great that people still made the sacrifice to come out,” said Father David Yallaly, who attended the march with the Chicago-based group Crusaders for Life. “It’s a great witness to the message of the sanctity of human life.”
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