I was in Washington, D.C., earlier this week to cover the annual March for Life as a reporter for the Catholic press. I traveled with three busloads of youths and their adult chaperones, who came from La Crosse, Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point and just about everywhere in between.
On Monday morning, we were almost overcome by the enthusiasm of the other Catholic young people, who came from all over the country and packed into every available seat in the MCI Center for Mass. The MCI Center, by the way, has a capacity of 20,000. Another 4,000 Catholic youths followed this Mass from Constitution Hall, and 700 from the Cathedral. The Diocese of Wichita, Kan., alone sent 14 busloads of high school and college students.
After Mass, we left the MCI Center and were led by police escort to the Mall area, where we were swallowed up by a massive crowd of pro-life marchers like a single drop in a bucket of water. Not being a statistician, I won’t venture to guess at the size of the march, except to say that the Associated Press’ simple “thousands” should probably have read differently.
We shivered in the Mall area in front of the capitol for two hours and then marched past the Supreme Court over the course of the next few hours in spite of our numbed hands and feet.
The kids were a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event, but they made it through the day because they were prepared.
What they weren’t prepared for was calling home to find that their parents missed the minute-long coverage the event merited on the evening news. They weren’t prepared to arrive home on Tuesday afternoon and pick up the paper to find that there was no coverage whatsoever. It was almost as if the whole thing had been an illusion — that it hadn’t really been that big a deal. [....Snip] La Crosse Tribune