BY MARY CABRAL
VIRGINIA BEACH — Forty-eight people from St. John the Apostle Catholic Church boarded a motor coach bound for the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., at 6:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 27.
This was my 11th year as the bus captain, and I have to say this was the biggest turnout I have seen since we started coming with our group from St. John the Apostle Catholic Church.
The March for Life Education and Defense Fund does not give out official attendance estimates, but media outlets have estimated that more than a half-million people attended in the past. The Independent Journal Review, citing National Parks officials, reported that well over 100,000 people attended.
But numbers don’t tell a full story.
What struck me were both the total number of marchers and the huge number of teenagers with joy in their hearts and smiles on their faces. Never have I seen such commitment and conviction among our youth.
It was heartwarming and comforting to know that the importance of life, in all of its forms from conception to natural death, was embraced fully by youngsters for the right reasons. They truly understood that life is a precious gift, and they were excited and grateful that their mothers and fathers chose life for them.
What also struck me was the fact that this march, coming a week after the Women’s March on Washington, was almost completely ignored buy the media, except for maybe one news outlet, EWTN, a Catholic radio and television network.
This year’s March for Life came in the 44th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
In 2017, for the first time since the March for Life started, a sitting vice president spoke to the crowd. Vice President Mike Pence brought cheers and excitment to all present, although most of us could not get very close to see him because of high security. But just knowing that he was there to support us was awesome.
Just as awesome was seeing the amount of young people at the march. Everybody came back on our bus, especially after seeing the youth with us during the march, and felt there is hope for the future. I think the tide is turning to appreciate life more.
Cabral has been involved in the pro-life movement for more than 20 years. She is the head of the Respect Life Ministry at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church, where she is a longtime member. She lives in the Park Place community with her husband, Lew Cabral, the pro-life director for the Knights of Columbus Council 13467 at St. John the Apostle.
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