By: Gittan Alicia | Contributing AOJ Journalist
On Friday, January 24, my boyfriend, my mother, and I attended our first ever March for Life, protesting against abortion. We drove up to DC from Maryland, leaving at about 7:30 a.m. and arrived at Union Station at about 9:00 a.m. on the day of the march. For the next hour, we would wander about Union Station, and my boyfriend, who was visiting DC for his first time, paused every few steps to take photos. In Union Station alone, we passed dozens of others who would be attending the event and were carrying signs.
Walking to the March
At about 10:00 a.m,, we left Union Station and embarked on a half an hour walk to the rally point at the National Mall. As we walked, my boyfriend continued to pause every few steps to take pictures of DC… even in the middle of the crosswalks. Despite the danger he was putting himself in from all the mad DC traffic, I was happy to see him enjoying the trip. The closer we got to the rally point, the more pro-lifers we saw, most travelling in large groups from churches and schools. It was neat to see all the pro-life organized attire that several groups wore and the banners many institutions carried.
Within a few blocks from the National Mall rally point, we began to see street side entrepreneurs selling Trump/pro-life attire and pro-lifers handing out free signs for the event. At the time we were arriving to the event, which was about 4 hours before the march, the sidewalks were definitely busy, but not crowded, and the roads were not yet fully closed down. Once we got to the rally point at the National Mall, there were several security stations set up and massive lines behind them just to get into the rally.
At the Rally
We decided not to go into the rally itself, and instead stood at an opening that allowed us to see into the rally and was at the perfect distance to hear. We stood there for four hours, waiting for the march to begin, and, in that time, we saw the crowd as it grew. There were seemingly endless lines at the security stations just to get into the rally, and eventually, people began crowding into the opening where we were standing just to hear the rally from the outside. Almost everyone was carrying signs, and I was surprised to see almost no dissent. The only dissent I did see at the rally was someone dressed up as uncle Sam leaving when Trump came to speak and shouting, “This man is crazy, I have got to go”, which had no effect on anyone at the rally, we all just looked at him for a moment and a few said, “oh come on Uncle Sam”, but that was it.
The Trump speech was one of the best speeches I had ever heard, if not the best. The moment Trump walked onstage, there was mass cheering from the crowd, and the moment Trump started to speak, the crowd went dead silent, everyone was eager to listen. Trump started off his speech by thanking everyone who was attending and praising the event’s president and all the members of the white house who attended. He then described the atrocities that have occurred in favor of abortion and mentioned the Virginia governor who was in support of post-birth abortion. At each atrocity mentioned, the crowd booed, not at the president, but at the atrocities that have occurred and the people who supported them. Afterwards, he dove into the work of his administration and what they have done to work towards ending abortion. At the end of him mentioning every accomplishment of his administration, there was mass cheering from the crowd.
At about 1:40 p.m., after Trump’s speech, we decided to head to the street to prepare for the rally. At that time, we were surrounded by tons of people, bunched in and almost touching. There were so many people that even on a cold winter day I was taking off layers of clothes because there was so much heat generated from everyone’s body heat. We had to push through masses of people to get to the street, and when we got to the street, it was still crowded, there were actually people backed up all the way to the Washington monument.
By the time we reached the street, the march was just starting, at least somewhat. The people surrounding the rally started pouring into the streets and lifting their signs high in the air. As we continued to march, there seemed to be an endless mass of people in front and back of us. My boyfriend would lift his camera high up in the air to get a picture of massive crowd around us and in those photos, it really did look like the crowd never ended.
After only a few minutes of walking, we would all come to a halt. Apparently, something was in the way of our march. While we stood waiting in the street, there were several people travelling up the sidewalk to get ahead of the standstill. Eventually, after seeing a fair number of people pass, we decided to see if the sidewalk did, in fact, get us passed the standstill. Our effort was of no avail for getting past. After a block or two of walking, we were met with a massive crowd now on the sidewalk and road and in front of the crowd was a police blockade. Our only choice was to wait and while we waited, my boyfriend decided to take a few good photos of the crowd and buildings around him. We were standing by a big concrete plant holder that rose above the ground, so I offered to climb up and take a picture of the crowd around us for him. I was astounded by how much more of the crowd I could see in that photo and just how big the crowd was.
After about a half an hour of stand-still, the barricade was lifted and there was some cheering as we began to march again. There were still some people sticking to the sidewalk as we marched, appearing to be speed-walking past the street-mass. Others were stationed on the sidewalk advertising their pro-life organizations or expressing dissent. Most were advertising their organizations though and there was a total of 4 to 5 people I saw expressing dissent. The dissenters were carrying signs that said, “you can’t be pro-life if you are pro vaccine” and one sign stated that vaccines were made from fetal cells. I found those signs amusing because I learned in school how vaccines are made, and they are made from a minuscule number of bacteria so that an individual may develop resistance to the bacteria. There are plenty of places to get bacteria from, and one of those places is not from aborted children. Even if it were, developing vaccines would not be a moral justification for the murder of children. It is, after all, illegal to use human beings for scientific endeavors without consent.
A few people were exhibiting gruesome displays of abortion’s horrors. One girl stood by a massive screen displaying the process of abortion while she shouted about the injustice and need to take action. Another display showed a woman crying while sitting in a pool of blood after taking a medication to perform an in-home abortion. There were other smaller displays of the bloody process of abortion as well.
Towards the end of the march, we began to see pro-life marchers crowding in front of buildings. Many would fill an entire staircase of a building and take photos while raising their signs to the oncoming marchers. Even towards the end of the march, all who participated seemed enthusiastic and committed to the cause. One woman attracted a massive crowd of people by telling the story of her experience getting an abortion and how that as changed her. She then went into how modern society has manipulated other girls like her to believe their only choice was to get an abortion. All of this rallied the crowd around her.
After the March
At the very end of the march we were all dispersed, and those of us leaving were sent along the sidewalk down a street outside the police barricade. We decided to walk back to Union Station where we had arrived that morning. It was 4 p.m. and we had walked a total of seven miles. As we were heading back, we passed several other protestors with signs and policemen at outer barricades, which were barricades on streets outside of the march to serve as an extra layer of protection. We also passed a few pro-life exhibits on the sidewalk outside of the march just passed the outer barricades.
Once we got to Union Station, there were hundreds of protestors on the floor at the entrance, presumable waiting for their trains. A lot of them were consuming food or sleeping with their heads rested on each other or a jacket. Further in Union Station there were people everywhere, most from the march. There were about 50 people in lines for the bathroom for both men and women. We ended up waiting a good 10 or so minutes just to use the bathroom. After the bathrooms, we went to get dinner. As we were searching for a place to eat, people were piling into the restaurants, most from the march. Eventually we settled on a French restaurant, which had amazing chicken noodle soup.
After we finished eating, we made our way out of Union Station. As we walked back to the entrance of Union Station, we noticed a significant decrease in the number of protestors, and the restaurants and shops were far less crowded. The Union Station entrance itself was still filled with protestors, but only a quarter of the original group remained. After a long while of waiting for my brother at the entrance, we finally left Union Station at about 6:30 p.m. and went home.
The 2020 March for Life was an eye-opening event and there were far more people than I had expected. The people at this march were very peaceful and loving, nothing like people from other marches I have heard about on the news. Most broadcasted marches show a mob of people acting out violently to anyone who opposes them and responding to media with hateful words towards their opposition. Not only that, but the people in these broadcasted marches seemed out for themselves and only really answered in terms of their own wants. The 2020 March for life was just the opposite of that; it was very peaceful, even when met with opposition, people in the 2020 March for Life did not act violently, they just kept walking. When it came to the media, people in the 2020 March for Life did not shout down the opposition with insults, but, rather, responded in statements of fact and showed compassion and civility. It was interesting to be able to compare and contrast this march with others.
I was happy to be supporting such an important cause in a peaceful, compassionate, and loving manner, and even happier to see just how many other people were supporting the same cause and just how little dissent there was. Not only that, but I was relieved to see just how many youths made up the march. The majority of the march consisted of college students and younger groups from churches. These younger groups were so enthusiastic about the march, some were even standing tightly packed together dancing and shouting while someone spoke on a megaphone. Other younger groups proudly walked carrying funny signs that appealed to the younger generation’s fads, of these signs, baby Yoda was overwhelmingly popular. Just seeing all these other youths gathering for a similar cause and contributing in their own unique ways was very exciting. My hope is that in future the March for Life may continue to grow and retain its younger generations, because without the youth, the fight for what is right will surely die off eventually.