MILWAUKEE — The night before I left for the 2016 March for Life, I was on a level beyond excited. I was thrilled to be going to Washington D.C. for the event.
I was even more emotional when I learned the flight my group was supposed to be on the next afternoon was cancelled due to a snowstorm. But that made the 2017 March for Life even more momentous.
I attended the Jan. 27 march through the pro-life club at my high school, Divine Savior Holy Angels. Twenty-three other girls plus two chaperones were set to make the trip to D.C.
With such a large group, we fed off each other’s excitement so much so that when we got to the youth rally on Friday, we were brimming with joy and anticipation.
The youth rally was unlike anything I had experienced before. The biggest crowd I had been a part of previously was at Summerfest. But it was nothing like being in the Verizon Center surrounded by thousands of other teens who were there for the exact same reason as me: to stand up for people who did not yet have a voice.
I had chills during the Mass when, during the Communion and closing hymns, I realized the sheer magnitude of people present. My friends and I looked at each other in amazement at the sight of the convention center crowd waving their lit phones during the recessional song, creating a sea of light. We were speechless.
I thought I had seen a crowd at the youth rally, but the march’s crowd was something else entirely. When passing through security to see Vice President Mike Pence and the other speakers, I thought we were at the tail end of the throng of people attempting to pass the Washington Monument.
As soon as we were through, I realized we were “close” in comparison to other people. The cheers raised at the speakers’ remarks echoed in my chest as I felt just how many people were present.
The march itself was incredible. It was so astonishing to think that I was walking and standing up for something with people from all over the country. Each person there had made the choice to participate and to make a stand against an inhumane law.
Several times, my friends and I stopped and climbed sets of steps or hills just to take in the amount of people marching. The sights took my breath away. I was full of joy while marching and I heard from many people that this march felt different because of the true possibility of changing the law with the new president.
I decided to attend the March for Life because I believe in the pro-life cause. I believe we must be a voice for those who cannot speak. I am proud to have participated in such an event and I hope I can be a part of the people who create change for the pro-life movement.
(Ruesch, a member of St. Jude Parish, Wauwatosa, is a senior at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, Milwaukee.)