March for Life
February 14, 2019
“Powerful,” “inspiring,” “hopeful,” and “enthusiastic” are all words that Cistercian attendees of this year’s March for Life used to describe the feeling at the event in Washington DC. This year, thirty-one students went to the March for Life, which is the largest number of Upper School students that we have ever sent. Even though we sent a substantial number of people to the march, they were dwarfed by the hundreds of thousands of people who also felt that the March for Life had a noble cause.
The multitudes of people that showed up to march were all rallying behind one cause: the end of abortion. Among the notable people who gave testimonies about why abortion is wrong were the President, Vice President, Congressmen, and numerous others. However, to Cole Boyd (’22), the most compelling of these testimonies was given by Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director, who became pro-life after she witnessed a fetus fighting for its life during an abortion. Witnessing these testimonies and being at the march was important for many Cistercian students, with Boyd saying, “Going to the march enabled me to grow closer with other Cistercian students and allowed us to participate in a demonstration calling for an end to abortion, one of the most pressing social issues for Catholics in our time.” A lot of faculty and staff also feel very passionately about the March for Life’s cause, with Fr. Ambrose being the main person who organized the trip to D.C. When he was asked why he felt that attending the March for Life was such an important experience for Cistercian students, he said, “It is an incredibly valuable experience because it is good for them [the students] to support a noble cause, which often gets swept under the rug. It is also an important experience because it gives them a chance to see that so many other youths across the nation support this cause.” However, it is not just monks who strongly believe in the importance of attending marches like these. Many of the lay faculty members like Mr. Mehen also believe in the importance of political advocacy and helping students become proponents for what they believe is right.
When Mr. Mehen was asked what he felt about the overall importance of political demonstrations, like the March for Life, is for our democracy, he answered, “Marches are good, as long as they are peaceful and non-violent. However, political involvement should not end with marches.” He went on to stress the importance of other forms of political advocacy, like voting regularly and showing up to city council meetings. This is what is really great about the March for Life community; they understand the importance of voting, being well informed, and getting involved both in local and national politics. The March for Life is not just a singular annual event for them; they live out the message the march is trying to send every day of their lives.
According to Nathan Comeaux, ’22, one of the Cistercian students who was present at the march, “It seems that the crowds get bigger every year. During the rally, the crowds filled the whole national mall. I was really glad to see how many people showed up to support the cause.” The fact that such a large number of people made the trip to Washington D.C. in order to voice their opinions, is a testament to the fact that the “American tradition” of making sure your voice is heard is still alive and well in our generation. Even if you do not necessarily agree with their opinions, there is no denying that democracy does not work without people like those who attended the March for Life, who are constructively voicing their thoughts in the hopes of improving society.