On January 21, 2022 forty-five Valley Lutheran students and chaperones were among the thousands who participated in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. Here are a few of their reflections on the experience and on being a part of Valley Lutheran’s Protect Life group.

“I participated in my third March for Life this January and it seems to grow both in numbers and in impact each year. When you have to wait in a crowded, stand-still line for over an hour just to join in on the actual march up Capital Hill, you feel empowered by a movement greater than yourself. The mere number of strangers marching side by side for life gives me hope for the future of our nation.

I pray, and think we should all continue to pray, for future generations that they hopefully won’t lose a third of their generation to the evils of abortion like mine has. For me personally, becoming the voice to the voiceless is an honor and I believe that our actions should unite as a call for justice that each and every life deserves. All life is precious and loved by God – that’s why we march.” – Kaitlyn, Senior

“As a student at Valley Lutheran High School, I had the distinct privilege and opportunity, along with multiple other students, to attend the March For Life in Washington D.C. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know what to expect. Physical amenity and smaller comforts clogged our heads as we waited in giddy anticipation of the trip, as it was viewed as an all out escape from the rotary academic schedule that ran our lives so vigorously. We couldn’t wait to spend time with others, and we all hoped to have fun. Strangely enough though, “fun” evolved from a sheer virtue into a life changing benefit. In dark cloudy D.C. the Lord’s glory shone gleamingly upon the National Mall. The people there. The groups. The lives it touched. The love. Love triumphed in the streets of the nation’s capital once again that day. We were inspiring others. Others inspired us. This wasn’t any normal school trip. It was spiritually awakening and valuable to the faith journey of many of us, as it opened our eyes to America’s silent genocide along with America’s resounding fight to preserve life.

Being a small town boy living in rural Michigan, I have grown up with a lot of conservative values. I believe in an ideology of Pro-family, Pro-freedom, and Pro-life principles. I believe that government is not the dictate of moral appeasement and does not regulate or create the most righteous laws—only God does. Government can be wrong, God is never wrong. And according to biblical principle, abortion is a blatant insult to God’s mighty handiwork. Abortion hurts women, the child, and destroys families. Being on the ground with over 150,000 other men and women who hold the same beliefs was touching. I felt that I was not alone. There was a sense of unity and love in the air. We rallied together for all life: the unborn, children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. It was beautiful. It was also cold. However, the warmth of our hearts maintained our body temperatures as we marched for hours on end. I haven’t seen that many smiling faces since the start of the trip. Our cheekbones hurt by the time of our convergence upon the Supreme Court. We had no doubt that we were fighting the greatest injustice of our lives, and we persisted hand and hand. The Pro-Life movement is larger and happier than ever.

America was founded on opportunity. What opportunity is there without the opportunity of life? Before the march, I was a little touchy on instances of rape, insest or even the instances where we know a child will be badly diseased. At the rally, a woman with Down Syndrome spoke because her mother was faced with the critical decision of aborting her child so her child didn’t have to be a burden to the potential productivity of her life. She spoke of the selfish nature it entailed and how disease shouldn’t deny a person their humanity or potential. She was the most lively person that spoke and inspired me to put all my chips in against all abortion. Every person is beautiful in their own specific way and to hear a testimony so touching as this I realized more than ever that life is extremely precious and that abortion stops a beating heart. No matter the circumstances of conception, life is worth protecting.

The sea of people was endless. The floodgates of prayer were opened upon the Supreme Court of the United States on that frigid day. The nine justices have a decision that can reverse the course of history and radically revert the 1973 case back to the power of the states and insure the right to life for generations of more babies. A generous ruling will never bring justice to the over 62 million babies lost to abortion’s bloody jaws but will reveal a sharp contrast to it’s former days. Better late than never is how the saying is told.

The night before the march left a distinct mark on me. I knew in the back of my mind that tomorrow we will march, possibly for the last time when Roe is the law of the land in the march’s 49th year run. Our first stop on our monument tour, late in the night, was Iwo Jima. I distinctly remember stepping on to the black top into the black of the night. It was cold and the ground was slippery. The monument commemorating the fallen marines of America stuck out upon the hill. I couldn’t help myself from snapping a few pictures of the spectacular lit up landscape of the National Mall. I took a sharp breath and swiveled my stance to where I saw my friend standing alone observing the lettering at the base of the monument. I went near him and stood in silence, reading the text of “AFGHANISTAN 2001-.” We stated that there would need to be a revision involved since the conflict came to an end in the summer of last year. We then, out of nowhere, became deeply philosophical and wondered how could a small group behind us in the city below decide to start a war that would send many men and women to perish in lands far away. It angered us. I later reflected on how a small group in the building behind the Capitol made an even broader, deadly decision almost 50 years ago to date against its own people. Then, we recalled that just as a bitter war can come to an end, so will the war on preborn children. In the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson: The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.

In Washington, we merely utilized our liberties to ensure that God’s plan is protected and life will run its course so that other men and women may exercise such natural liberties enshrined in no government directive but in the powerful glory of the Lord.

Hope is what we have. A collective hope embodied by all 45 young men and women who traveled with me. With everything against us, we thrived in the knowledge that abortion will be defeated with the continued prayers and good faith that it is on its last legs. But the fight is not over. It will never be over. We will persist. We are unwavering only by the help of Almighty God alone. Life is worth fighting for till the day I die.” – Gavin, Junior

“The March for Life is one of my favorite memories from my time at Valley Lutheran so far! I loved getting to march with my other brothers and sisters in Christ for a cause that is so important to me. Joining [Valley’s] Protect Life [group] was one of the greatest things I have ever done because I truly learned the real, raw, and hard truth about abortion in our nation. Every 89 seconds a baby is killed by abortion in our nation (according to the Planned Parenthood report from 2019-2020). That’s ⅓ of our generation missing. This is why protecting life is so important, these children that are being killed are God’s children and we are here to be his disciples and share this message.

One of my favorite parts of the trip were the devotions given by Pastor Eden (Christ our Savior, Livonia). Even though it was late at night and we were exhausted, his messages challenged me, changed my perspective on some things, and made my desire to fight for the life of unborn babies grow even greater.

Being a part of the march is so inspiring. All around you there are people who have the same view on abortion as you do and are fighting for the same thing. Marching through D.C. to the Supreme Court steps put it all into perspective that we have power in our nation. Although this might be our last march if Roe v. Wade is overturned, it is not sad because we will finally get the verdict that we as the pro-life community have been fighting for for 50 years. As you’re walking through the streets of D.C., you see people all around you holding signs and big projectors showing videos about abortion and gruesome photos of abortion. As hard as those images are to see, they are the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts. I pray that those who are pro-choice saw us marching for this cause and that their blinders of what they think abortion is are taken off.

I love seeing our group be on fire against abortion after the march, and more willing to share the pro-life message. I pray that next year our club can go to the victory march, Lord willing and that we may know that our work is not for nothing but that we are saving our brothers and sisters in Christ.” – Kelly, Sophomore