I’m still recovering from the March for Life 2015 trip, and what a trip it was!
This post is going to be visual heavy, but I have to share at least some of it verbally. There was so much more than the March but I’ll focus on that only today.
First off, the Plan A didn’t happen. I was slated to be interviewed on EWTN about the book I helped write that is coming out next month. Mass before the March meant I had to hustle to the EWTN tent and wait my turn.
It was fascinating watching the pro-life bigwigs come in and, one by one, step into the spotlight with EWTN host Teresa Tomeo. I was pumped up and ready to go.
But as time wore on, doubts took hold. I was conflicted between standing there much longer and joining our North Dakota crew, whom I could see just across the way stationed in front of the main stage, where our spokesperson, Shanley senior Julia Johnson, was set to give a talk to the throngs of people gathered.
Finally, things began gearing up and I saw the organizer say to Teresa, “We’re done.” She wanted to to know if they could do a few more interviews to record for later, but the answer came: no. It wasn’t going to work.
So off I went, grabbing everything I’d need for the main event. My disappointment was there, but fleeting as I worked through the crowd, nervous now that I wouldn’t make it to the front of the line in time to march with our large brood. Thousands were gathering and I kept losing my fellow North Dakotans also heading that way as we wove in and out of the bustling bunch.
But at least I knew my chances of finding them this year would be better than any other. Just head to the front! Finally, I found them, and we were just minutes from starting off. I raised my camera to take a photo and…what? “Full Card.” I was out of room! But God’s grace flowed in through a fellow parent-photographer friend, Gretchen, who just happened to have extras. “Thank you Jesus,” I’m pretty sure I said out loud.
And then, at the cue, we were off!
I was planning on being somewhere near the front, I’d hoped, but within a short amount of time, a few of us parents had somehow been pulled into the media circle ahead of the front line.
Could this really be happening? Would I be allowed to stay here? Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d be not only up front but in front of the front. I snapped away, one photo after the other, knowing that this was indeed a moment in my life that would stand out as a highlight.
The other parents who’d gotten lucky with me and I couldn’t stop smiling. We were elated at being able to see the up close glimpse of our kids, and the smiles on their faces as they marched and chanted. Their joy was something to behold.
As we approached the big hill leading to the capitol and the Supreme Court steps, we ran ahead further so we could get a bird’s eye view shot. We were giddy, ecstatic, so incredibly excited. This would be the pivotal moment and our best chance to see the whole march.
The police and their motorcycle brigade were like body guards to our line of hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers. And the scene from on high? Just as spectacular as we’d imagined.
Soon, we realized something was going on up ahead. A small group of protesters — 50 to 100 in all — had gathered to block us.
They had signs, too, declaring their opposition to what we were doing. But so did Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life of America executive director, who stepped in to lead the students in positive chants to distract the protestors. Since the protestors didn’t have permits like we did to march in the streets, at least eight of their most defiant were arrested.
My 14-year-old witnessed much of this, while I stayed near our group, which waited calmly for the police to give us the green light to continue.
At the conclusion, we all met at the capitol steps for the customary group photo. And a short time after that, Senator John Hoeven stopped by to say hello, and bring a few giggles to our tired crew.
One of my favorite moments was this one, when at the conclusion of this incredible event, I had a moment to catch up with my daughter and give her a little squeeze. I’m so glad we experienced this together, even if for some of the time we were separated. We will always have this memory to share with one another.
I’m still pinching myself over how Plan A eluded me, but Plan B? Oh, it was even better. Having a chance to be part of the most vibrant energy of the March by being at the lead — even before the lead — was beyond exciting. I didn’t forget to thank God for the beautiful chance He put before me when my own plan floated away.
He has it all in hand, and it’s good. Very good. And just like the motto of this year’s March: “Every life is a gift!” A good and precious treasure.
Q4U: Did you catch any of the March for Life coverage or read any of the reports afterwards? What did you notice? What did you think?