On February 11, 2017, pro-lifers participated in a march in Washington, D.C. that was supposed to be peaceful and prayerful. Thanks to radical liberals, it was anything but peaceful. They tried to block us at practically every intersection. These extremists pushed and shoved us. They pursued us. They shouted and screamed at us. They had one intention: to prevent us from reaching the Planned Parenthood facility.
The march was one of the 228 rallies in 45 states organized by De-Fund PP and sponsored mainly by Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Created Equal, and Pro-Life Action League. We started in front of the U.S. Supreme Court with a short prayer. At around 9:15 a.m. we began the 1.7-mile march to the Planned Parenthood facility on 4th and Florida St. NE.
Members of Tradition, Family and Property’s Student Action joined the march. Students and staff from TFP-run St. Louis de Montfort Academy drove four hours to be there.
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The pro-life marchers numbered around eighty. The liberals numbered around sixty. We had a student marching band. They had their slogans. We filled the air with hymns of “God Bless America” and “Hail Holy Queen Enthroned Above.” They filled the air with shouts of “Pro-life is a lie. They don’t care if women die.”
As the two groups approached in the beginning, there was a lot of uncertainty. The radicals that surrounded us were convinced they had us blocked in, but we kept marching forward. We looked at the police officers. They kept telling us to march forward. The tension was so intense and the suspense so dramatic, it seemed scripted by a novelist. But this was pure unscripted fury versus conviction, morality versus fallacy. At the very moment when it seemed we would clash, the Metropolitan Police intervened and let us march on the street. That was the first blockade we evaded. Eight more were yet to come.
The pro-abortion radicals tried to prevent us from reaching the facility by adopting the tactic of rushing ahead in order to block the march’s path. We continued on undeterred. Our band is called Holy Choirs of Angels Corps. It was aptly named and fit the event well. It was truly angelic to hear the harmonies of the fifes, pipes, brass and drum corps play patriotic tunes and Catholic hymns. This was in stark contrast to the discordant roars and screams coming from the liberal activists.
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The second clash came all too soon. This time the pro-abortionists repeated the same play that has deterred so many morning commuters nationwide, finding their local highways and beltways suddenly blocked with arm-locked protesters. As we approached, we were uncertain of the outcome. Not only were they blocking the sidewalks, they were blocking the road! It seemed like they had done it. They had stopped our advance, prevented the practice of our freedom, and were now trying to silence our voices.
However, before the impending clash, the police made a heroic effort to open a narrow lane for us. That was all we needed. We slipped through their barricade harrowed on all sides but barely skipping a step. This was the gesture that gave us confidence that Our Lady had sent guardian angels to protect us.
When the liberal feminists tried blocking the next intersection, a patrol car came to lead the march. The Metropolitan Police hoped this would make it easier to break the blockade. No such luck. They locked arms and refused to move. Again, the police’s heroic effort made an opening for us and through the blockade we went. It became evident that the liberals were becoming more violent against us, ripping our signs and our banners. Many were in a shoving match with the police. The police had to struggle harder to make the opening for us.
The tension was very high. The chance of violence was reaching a boiling point. The band director, Mr. Gregory Escaro, shouted a prayer to saints and the band responded with spirited voices. Far from being cowered, the pro-life marchers prayed with a militant conviction. “Saint Michael,” Mr. Escaro shouted. “Pray for us,” our marchers responded. “Our Lady of Victory! Pray for us.” “Advance? Always! Retreat? Never.” Our prayers filled the Washington streets with these militantly pious invocations.
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Not surprisingly it woke up the neighborhood and drew them out to their front door or balcony. They watched this heated exchange between the two sides, perhaps not entirely sure how this was happening in their own neighborhood. Some residents heckled us but some residents cheered our merry band of pro-lifers. Some even came up to us to shake our hands.
Of due mention was the bravery of the 40 Days for Life members that were carrying the lead banner. They were the first into the breach and fray. Of note were Fr. Stephen Imbarrato, Larry Cirigniano, Pastor Patrick Mahoney, and others.
The most intense confrontation was when they decided to sit down on the ground, arm-locked, covering from the sidewalk on the right to the sidewalk on the left and four deep. This time it seemed impenetrable. To pass through, either we would need to step over them, inviting so much trouble, or, they would be dragged off as one mass by the police, forcing a potential lawsuit.
If they were intent to stop us at the onset, at this point they were even more committed. To block us sitting down and arm-locked was their final weapon and they deployed it with the conviction of radicals. These are not your typical liberals. These seemed to be seasoned radicals employing tactics straight out of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. It seemed like our road finally had ended by this latest move. We were only a few blocks away from the abortion facility. So far, the liberals denied us the right to have a peaceful and prayerful march. We asked ourselves if they would deny us a peaceful and prayerful rally in front of the abortion mill.
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Once again, Our Lady intervened. A few marchers went ahead and were inspired to pepper the leaders of the blockade with questions. In the meantime, Our Lady inspired the police, our guardian angels, to find the weak link in the human chain. While the radical leaders were distracted, the Metropolitan Police, with commendable effort, managed to open a very narrow lane for us. Again the police broke through the blockade and we passed through.
It would be imprecise to say we went through that unsavory crowd of liberals unmolested. The pro-abortionists struggled with the police, chanting angrily: “What will we do? We fight back!” The police had to push back the angry crowd.
We marched on as they tried to stop us a sixth, seventh and eighth time but at each confrontation Our Lady, through the police, found a way to let us pass through.
The most important lesson of the day was to confide in Our Lady. When all looked bleak, the way was opened for us. What seemed to be a dead end turned out to be only a lie of the devil.
When we reached our much contested destination, the Metropolitan Police separated the pro-abortionists from us. We held our rally in peace. We heard many testimonies. We said our prayers. About half way through, the pro-abortionists gave up, stopped their chanting and abandoned their corner. In the end, it was just the pro-lifers singing a hymn to Our Lady, asking her to intervene to defund Planned Parenthood and to shut down the abortion clinic in Washington, D.C. and all the abortion clinics nationwide and worldwide.