The 920-mile trip took more than 20 hours, a convoy of two buses driving overnight, straight through. One bus had no heat as outside temperatures plunged below freezing; the other was so hot many riders became carsick. The Tampa Bay area students missed three days of school during the first week of the new semester to endure bleak wind chills and snow. • More than 60 students from schools including St. Petersburg High, Tampa Catholic, Countryside High, Clearwater Central Catholic and St. Petersburg Catholic arrived in Washington, D.C., exhausted but still overwhelmed with excitement to participate in the annual March for Life.
The peaceful procession protests the 1973 Supreme Court Case of Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion. Crowds have reached upwards of 600,000 people from all over the country, standing up to defend human life from conception to natural death.
This year, a powdery snowfall the day before the march put a wrench in many parts of the schedule, but students stayed positive because of their reason for being there. They were able to take fun excursions to the Smithsonian museums, a youth rally and concert and the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Tim Warner, a junior at Clearwater Central Catholic, was attending his second march. "Going on the March for Life is important to me because I have seen the gift of life, in the form of a baby brought into the world by my cousin," Warner said of his goddaughter. "It is the most beautiful and amazing thing I have ever seen."
While on his first march, he saw disturbing photographs, he said. "The first time I saw the pictures (of aborted babies), it literally brought me to tears," he said. "It is the saddest and most disgusting sight I have ever seen, but it did show me what I truly am fighting for."
Taking a stand can be difficult for some teens, especially in today's culture, Warner said. "It is important for high school students to stand for what they believe in, because we are going to be adults soon, trying to make it on our own, and we have to know what we stand for so we can know how to fight for our beliefs." Taking part in the March for Life is something he urges anyone who is pro-life to do.
"I am pro-life because I have seen the beauty of life through my goddaughter, and I am willing to fight for a world that recognizes that beauty in all life."
For more information on the March for Life, check out the Facebook page 2014 DOSP at March for Life by Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, or marchforlife.org.