It’s only nine weeks until the 2016 March for Life in Washington, DC. Mark your calendar: Friday, January 22, 2016. Need some information? Need a reason to go? Read on. Seacoast readers, there’s a special message for you below, with my thanks to readers who alerted me.
Bus information, New Hampshire to DC
Planning to take a bus from New Hampshire? Here’s a link from the Diocese of Manchester with information about the Diocese’s bus trip, which they’re calling quite appropriately a Pilgrimage of Faith. Note well: the deadline for putting down a deposit for the trip is coming up very soon: October 31. If you are Catholic, check with your local parish as well; there might be a parish liaison for you. The cost is very reasonable; don’t assume it’s out of reach for you until you read the information at the link above.
This is an overnight trip, leaving January 21 and returning to New Hampshire very early on the 23rd.
If you know about other pro-life groups (faith-based or not!) arranging transportation for the March, please let me know and I’ll be happy to spread the word. Leave a comment on this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seacoast readers, this one’s for you!
If you live on the New Hampshire Seacoast, be aware that if at least twenty people sign up, there will be a bus traveling to DC from Our Lady of the Holy Rosary church in Rochester. The same October 31 deadline for a deposit applies. Contact Nancy Sirois ASAP at email@example.com. Twenty should be a cinch – but you have to sign up now!
Why go to the March?
- Encouragement, for yourself and others. The first time you go, you’ll be bowled over by the sheer number of high school and college students. This is a pro-life generation. Your very presence will make for a larger crowd, which DC politicians can’t help but notice regardless of whether or not news coverage is adequate. Even in the worst weather – in 1987 there was a Northeastern snowstorm so bad that many buses turned back – 10,000 people showed up. In better weather, the crowd numbers in the hundreds of thousands.
- Communicate with others back home and across the Internet by posting your own photos and impressions. Since the first March in January 1974, coverage by most major networks has been spotty and brief. EWTN, a Catholic cable network, broadcasts the March from start to finish every year, but not everyone has access to cable or chooses to watch Catholic programming. Your Facebook posts, tweets and photos of the March help push the event to the attention of people all over the country.
- Visit your federal representatives’ offices in person the day of the March. Let them know why you’re there and that you expect support for the right to life – a human right that’s inherent, not subject to being “wanted.” Oddly enough, a number of pro-abortion Senators and Members of Congress are unavailable that day. Their offices are open nonetheless and staffers are there to receive you.
- Gain a greater understanding of the amazing breadth of the pro-life movement. Sometimes we can be in a bubble without realizing it. Many religious organizations work to get people to the March, but a pre-March stroll around the National Mall will bring you in touch with Secular Pro-Life, Feminists for Life, the Prolife Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, and pro-life groups from colleges you might not expect, to name just a few. The only thing that’s necessary is a commitment to peaceful action to defend the right to life of preborn human beings.
- Be inspired to bring new initiatives to your pro-life work back home and to improve on existing work. The March for Life organization has a pro-life expo at a nearby hotel, and other pro-life groups may have conferences or information sessions within a day or two of the March.
Things to know before you go
I’ve only been to a handful of Marches for Life in DC, and I defer to anyone more experienced with the event who has other must-know information.
- You have travel options, depending on your budget and your location. For those of us living in the Northeast Corridor, flights to Washington are plentiful, and they can be cheap depending on how far in advance you purchase tickets. I once did this as a one-day trip, taking off from home at 6 a.m. and returning in the evening. Amtrak has an overnight train between Boston and Washington, with relatively low fares if tickets are purchased far enough in advance. Buses, especially for organized trips that include accommodations at discounted rates, are very economical.
- Driving in Washington is not for the faint of heart, particularly for an event of this magnitude. If you drive, stay outside the city (where accommodations are much more affordable in any case) and use the Metro system.
- Dress warmly. Wear layers. Gloves and hats are essential. There will be a lot of standing around. There is a pre-March rally, and then it takes time for 100,000 people to move along the March route. Bear all this in mind, especially if you’re traveling with kids. Watch the weather forecast before the March, of course, but expect cold weather. Blame the late Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun and his colleagues for announcing the Roe v. Wade decision on a January day.
- Wear comfortable shoes. If your boots pinch, you’ll never last the day.
- Carry snacks.
- Consult the March for Life web site for a trip planner and a lot of helpful information.
- Look at the banners of various groups all around you, and don’t be afraid to go say hello and meet new people.
Can’t go to Washington? Come to Concord
New Hampshire’s own March for Life is held in Concord the Saturday before the national March, so the next one will be January 16. More about that as the date approaches.