WAHOO – Thousands of pro-lifers descended upon the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for the 47th annual March for Life.
This year a group of students from Bishop Neumann High School took the cross country trek to join other students from around the country.
What began as a small demonstration to honor the unborn after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision has now developed into a full-scale rally.
Cloelia Braunsroth, Madison Oligmueller and Courtney Oligmueller, all Bishop Neumann seniors and first time attendees, joined the annual pilgrimage that took place on Jan. 27.
A total of 18 Neumann students and three chaperones traveled cross country with other students from the Lincoln Diocese to attend the national rally.
Braunsroth said this was the first time she was a part of the March for Life.
“I wasn’t initially planning on going but then I thought to myself it’s my senior year and I really want to fight for this,” she said.
Braunsroth said she was blown away by the amount of people who came together to fight for the same big issue.
“You don’t realize how many people are truly standing up for this until you go to and see this sea of a half of a million people standing arm to arm fighting for the same thing,” she said.
Courtney Oligmueller said she too was hesitant to go at first but would have regretted it if she didn’t.
“Seeing many of my close friends who were planning on going to stand up for this very important cause was inspiring,” she said.
All three agreed that meeting new people was one their favorite parts of the trip.
“I loved meeting new people,” Courtney Oligmueller said. “You meet people easily when you believe the same thing.”
In addition to attending the march, the group of local students went to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception which is the largest Catholic church in the United States.
“There were so many beautiful chapels there,” Braunsroth said. “We got the entire morning to explore all of them. We also went to visit the National Archives, the Natural History Museum and the Holocaust Museum.”
Madison Oligmueller said that she is looking forward to continuing with the friendships she started with others who were at the march.
“I’m so glad I went,” she said. “I’m planning on meeting up with the new people we met there very soon.”
Other students attending the March for Life were Alissa Abolins, Elli Brabec, Nate Gusman, Grant Jochum, Avery Mayberry, Colby Osmera, Payton Prohaska, Grant Ryan, Karissa Saf, Mattie Schulz, Aubrey Sylliaasen, Thomas Vrana, Lainey Weist, Steven Sladky and Emma Mongar.
Tom Gerdes was able to attend the march with his oldest daughter Erin Polacek, who was also a chaperone for the group as well as Duane “Ozzy” Osmera. Gerdes teaches science at Bishop Neumann High School.
“This has always been an important issue for our entire family, so to finally really have the opportunity to stand up and be counted in this way was gratifying for me personally,” Tom Gerdes said. “But hopefully gets recognized more as an effort to stand up for the dignity of all human life, especially the unborn.”
Gerdes said his first chance to attend the National March for Life was inspiring and breathtaking.
He said as educators they spend a lot of time in a lot of ways in many different classes to teach about and instill values related to the importance of the respect for, and dignity of life.
“This was easily four times more people than any Husker football game I’ve been to,” Gerdes said. “Constitution Avenue was full of people from side to side with people on the sidewalks on each side stretching for over a mile and a half almost two miles. It’s a bit of a humbling experience knowing so many people feel so strongly about standing up as a voice for those who can’t yet speak for themselves.”