Tuesday, 07 February 2017 21:38

March for Life: Student Reflections

Over forty Valley Lutheran High School students were among the tens of thousands gathered in Washington D.C. on Friday, January 27, 2017 for the 44th Annual March for Life. Their experiences and reflections are included in the recap below.

The group drove through the night on Wednesday, January 25 arriving in D.C. early Thursday morning. Their day was filled with sightseeing and the March for Life Youth Rally. VL Senior Arianah Rankin recaps their day saying, “Two hours was far from enough to be able to truly experience the whole [Holocaust Museum]. My favorite part was the exhibit called Daniel’s Story. It walked us through a little boy’s life and showed us how it changed when the Holocaust began. It was amazing.” After their morning at the Museum the group heading to a local D.C. hotel for the Youth Rally. Rankin continues, “There were several amazing speakers and the President of the March for Life even came. TransformDJs performed their pro-life music for us and it was incredibly fun!” After dinner the group toured many of the D.C. sites including the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, and MLK Memorials.

After a good night’s sleep, the group awoke and started their day with devotions at the hotel by VL Junior Ruby Yantz. They then were blessed to participate in the LCMS/Lutherans for Life worship service in Arlington, Virginia before heading to the pre-march rally. Yantz remembers, “After making it through security we got our places in a crowd of thousands of people. The rally began and cheers electrified throughout the sea of people. About a dozen speakers came up, including [Vice President] Mike Pence! There was a band playing and everyone was so joyful and full of love for the passion of life. Around 1:30 the March began. Without knowing specific numbers we marched alongside about 600,000 people or more. Definitely a life changing experience to see so many people enthusiastic for the pro-life cause!” VL Junior Kendall Merritt reflected that the March “was so inspiring! I am for the cause 100% more now.” Fellow Juniors Brad Gipson and Daisy Powers remember how powerful it is to be among so many - Gipson lists his favorite memory as “looking back in the middle of the March to view seas of people in front and behind me” while Powers remembers “when everyone would join in the pro-life chants”. She also “loved talking to people from all across the country and seeing people come together from all over.”

After the March ended around 3:30 on the steps of the Capitol building the group toured a few D.C. buildings including the Canon Building, Longfellow Building, and Rayburn building. Included in the tour were stops at the offices of both Representative Moolenaar and Representative Huizenga, republicans who are part of the pro-life movement. Thanks the their staffs for taking time to meet with our group!

After a long day the students enjoyed dinner and a little bit of time to relax and reflect before boarding the bus again for the overnight drive back to Michigan.

Yantz compares her two March experiences and provides a thoughtful summary - “Being on the March for a second time really opens up your eyes. The first time was all about realization. The second is all about confirmation and strengthening. Standing among thousands of people that are all fighting for this cause can’t be put into words. The Holy Spirit was making his rounds all around the world on that day. I wouldn’t trade that feeling of pure amazement for anything!”
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