Participants brave cold to March for Life
Jan. 23, 2014 at 10:02 p.m.
Updated Jan. 22, 2014 at 7:23 p.m.
Frigid and windy weather is a small sacrifice to represent those who have no voice, said Veronica Pedraza.
She and her husband, Augie, were among more than 100 people who made the 27th annual March for Life walk from DeLeon Plaza to Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church on Thursday night.
The march marks the 41st anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to ban abortions.
The Pedrazas arrived early at the plaza bundled in jackets with their hoods pulled tight over their heads. They huddled to protect themselves against the cold wind. The two said they were there because of the tragedy of abortion.
"We believe in life and that all life is preserved," Veronica Pedraza, 60, said.
While the couple waited for the event to begin, Gene Polasek, 50, was one of several men who lit candles at the start of the march.
He trekked between the pro-life supporters lighting candles as they went out. He said he was proud to be a part of the demonstration.
"It's a public way to show others what I believe," Polasek said as he walked.
At the end of the march, the Rev. Patrick Knippenberg of Our Lady of Victory Cathedral spoke to the crowd of young and old pro-life supporters at Our Lady of Sorrows Church. His hope was to offer an understanding to his listeners that there are other options than abortions.
"I want to bring up more solutions," he said before the march. "We need to help people understand there are ways to carry out the pregnancy." Adoption is one option, Knippenberg said.
He wrote his speech around the beliefs of Pope Francis and included some details about his own life.
"This is a nation that is about justice and freedom," he said. "We need to be the voice for the defenseless and voiceless."
The topics are not new to Knippenberg. He was one of five children born to an adopted child.
If it weren't for his grandparents adopting his mother, he said, he wouldn't have been able to give the speech Thursday night.
"If people can understand it," Knippenberg said, "they can see the reality. It becomes very human."
Though the weather was cold, Veronica Pedraza said, it was a demonstration, and it had to happen, regardless of the weather. Augie Pedraza said it was important for them to participate.
"It's a small sacrifice if it makes one person save a life," she said.