As the first U.S. president to attend the March for Life stepped to the microphone, some eastern Connecticut residents could hardly believe it.
Lisa Duda, who started attending the march in 2001, and who this year organized two buses from the Diocese of Norwich, witnessed a surge of emotion.
“They were cheering and crying. It was such a relief. I never thought I’d live to see this day,” Duda said in an interview for The Four County Catholic. “Because in 2001, we were feeling like David and Goliath. It seemed like all was lost. But when Trump started saying all these things, we felt renewed hope and trust in God. We’re hoping next year it’ll be a victory march.”
Crowds are notoriously hard to count, but this year was so vast that it clogged the security checkpoint on the National Mall near 14th Street. Participants could be seen as far back as the Washington Monument. While there was little room to maneuver, just about everyone seemed cheerful – first in anticipation, and then in deliverance.
As expected, President Donald Trump got a thuderous reception. The White House is only a little more than a half-mile away from the March for Life rally microphone, but previous presidents have found it a stage too far. Several have been hostile or indifferent to the cause, and the others have decided it was too risky politically to be captured on camera at the event. Trump changed everything Friday, January 24th.
“It is my profound honor to be the first president in history to attend the March for Life,” Trump began, to a roar from the crowd. “We’re here for a very simple reason: to defend the right of every child, born and unborn, to fulfill their God-given potential. For 47 years Americans of all backgrounds have travelled across the country to stand for life, and today, as president of the United States I am truly proud to stand with you.”
The Diocese of Norwich contingent numbered 108. It included students from the University of Connecticut and from the Academy of the Holy Family in Baltic.
The Dudas, who are parishioners of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Baltic, are eager to increase numbers next year, but cost is a problem. “We have people who would love to go but can’t pay, and people that would pay but can’t go, and we would love to bring these two groups together for the greater glory of God," said John Duda.
-- By Matt McDonald