22 Hours in DC

March for Life 2016

Kei Demand

Wednesday 3:45 PM – Thursday 4:30 PM

The adventure starts here. After school Wednesday, 27 Dowling students, including myself, were met by Mary Granzow of Iowans for Life, at St. Francis of Assisi Church in West Des Moines. Everyone piled into one charter bus ready to head to DC. Our estimated travel time was 22 hours. The ride ended up taking closer to 24, and the bus pulled up in front of our hotel at 4:30 PM, Thursday.

Thursday 4:30 PM – Friday 1:00 AM

At the hotel everyone split into their rooms to get ready for the night. Since the bad weather had been in the forecast for several days, Iowans for Life were already planning on leaving DC Friday evening, after the March. Leaving Friday meant that we marchers had no more free day. Panic over this news having finally subsided, the decision of what we wanted to do for our one night in DC was left to each group. My group, with our chaperone, Ms. Liedeman, chose to go out on our own rather than take the guided monument tour.

My group, Claire, Molly, Clare, and I, walked around several monuments on our way down to the Lincoln Memorial, where we hid from the cold inside the gift shop for more time than necessary. After agreeing that we had no idea how to get from the Memorial to the hotel without going outside or taking a cab. The only thing that could take us back into the cold was the promise of dinner. And so to Magic Gourd we went. — Magic Gourd is a small chinese restaurant in a little plaza square, downtown Washington DC. The food is served fast and hot, and the oolong tea is addictive. If you ever decide to give it a try, remember to order a slice of chocolate cake at the end of your meal, and don’t be disappointed when everyone gets the same fortune; “You have a very lively family :)”.

After an hour or so of warming up and bonding over eggrolls we still weren’t able to drag ourselves into the cold. The walk back to the hotel would be over 3 miles and none of us were excited. Thankfully, Ms. Liedman got an Uber and we all rode back to the hotel while discussing the Hunchback of Notre Dame and international basketball.

Back at the hotel Claire, Molly, Clare, and I, showered and settled in for a girls-night-movie-&-snack-party. We went to bed around 1 AM after watching two movies and watching Claire cry about Princess Diana’s death.

Friday 5:30 AM – Friday 2:30 PM

The main event had arrived. On Friday morning we woke up at 5:30 to drive down to the youth mass and rally. There was a great homily by a funny priest and really good music played by PJ Anderson. Being surrounded by so many people our age who believe the same things we do was really inspiring. There were several speakers and the audience filled almost half of the convention center. The mass lasted until noon when the actual march was supposed to begin.

Between the youth mass and the march we took a stop at the real rally. It was freezing at the foot of the Washington Monument but everyone was excited. We were able to hear Carly Fiorina and the woman in charge of the march speak about abortion, and the rights that all humans should be given. There were lots of people standing around giving out pamphlets and signs to everyone as well as spreading the news about other Christian organizations and events. Although it was cold, we couldn’t think of anywhere we’d rather be.

The march began at the Washington Monument and went all the way past the capitol. However, as soon as the march began the snow started and we had to leave before it ended to get to the buses. The snow was coming down in huge pieces, and fast. I marched with Katie and Margaret next to a bagpipe band, who we sang and danced with. In the excitement of the snow and of the march we got separated from the rest of Iowans for Life. The three of us and some other girls that we found from Dowling got to march all the way down to the capitol in the snow before seeing the frantic texts from everyone else to get ourselves to Union Station. The march was inspiring and exciting, the memories from our 22 hours in Washington DC will be hard to forget, and the friendships I made on this trip have stayed with me since we’ve gotten back.

Seeing everyone who was a part of the march both from Dowling and across the country brings hope to my heart that people will someday make the change and finally end abortion. The snow was a blessing in disguise, bringing attention to a cause near and dear to many people’s hearts. I will never forget this trip, and in some small way I hope that we were able to make a change, and save a life. DSC_0596DSC_0678DSC_0723
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