By Eduardo Fernandez, Special to The Catholic Virginian

The March-for-Life was a life changing event for me. This was my first march ever, so since the moment I woke up I was curious as to what was going to happen throughout the day.

I began to get ready, then we headed for the church where we would meet up with the other parish members who would be marching.

Marchers gather at the Diocesan Pastoral Center to pray prior to leaving for the March in Washington on January 27.

We proceeded to have a Mass, then we all got ready to board the bus. When I got on the bus I was so stunned to see it was completely full, I didn’t expect such a turn out. But, trust me that wasn’t the biggest surprise of the day.

On the ride to Washington, D.C. we prayed the rosary as a group, which really prepared me, as well as everyone else on the bus, for the event we were about to experience.

Once we got there and got off the bus, you immediately felt the atmosphere of positivity. As we began to walk people were handing out free posters, we saw beautiful shirts for sale, as well as groups in matching hats and outfits, and you felt the unity with every single person that was walking with, or around you.

Eduardo Fernandez, second from right, is joined by members of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal from Brooklyn, NY at the March in Washington.

We then reached the National Mall area, where all the speeches would take place before the actual march would begin. We heard the speeches of Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson, Kellyanne Conway, Sen. Joni Ernst, and Vice President Mike Pence. Hearing all these powerful people give such powerful speeches truly excited everyone for the march.

After everyone had finished speaking, the crowds of people took to the street to march! That is where the biggest surprise of the day came in, it was around 40 degrees that day, yet there were still hundreds of thousands of people in attendance! That blew my mind, I hadn’t realized until that moment the seriousness and importance of this march.

Originally, I was merely told I was going, and that was the end of the discussion. But, by the end of the day I was so thankful that I could be a part of such an amazing cause, and march for what I believe in. It was such a great experience, and turned out much greater than a teenager, like myself, would’ve ever imagined. I am the Pro-Life generation, and I will march until the day we don’t need to march anymore, until the day that it goes from a March-for-Life, to a Victory March.

(Alanna Dillon and Lauren Henkel contributed to this reflection.)