Crusade continues as teens, moms take part in National March for Life

Raising awareness of their view against abortion is a family affair for one set of North Country daughters and their mothers. Its one that has taken them all the way to the nations capital for nearly a decade. Sixteen-year-old Jessica Trevail from Cadyville and 17-year-old Alaina Holzer from Plattsburgh, and their mothers, Christine Trevail and Carol Holzer, joined hundreds of thousands people who walked in the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., Jan. 22. The four participated in the national walk just nine days after walking in the local March for Life in Plattsburgh, sponsored by Champlain Valley Right to Life. The national march, which began shortly before 2 p.m., began at the National Mall on Constitution Avenue and proceeded to First Street and the Supreme Court, where many women who had abortions congregated and held signs that said I regret my abortion. The Holzers and the Trevails were fortunate to be toward the front of the march, and it only took them about an hour and 15 minutes to reach the Supreme Court. Some years, they have been in the back and that task has taken them several hours. This year, they marched with the largest group of pro-life supporters ever. There were about 250,000 people marching, Jessica said. It seemed like 70 percent of them were young, from teens to early thirties. I think that is because we were in our mothers wombs for nine months during the time that abortion has been legal, and consequently were considered garbage in a legal sense. We could have been disposed of simply for convenience. This year, the foursome had a few extra hours of free time between the time they arrived in Washington and the time the march began. They decided to attend the 14th annual National Memorial for the Preborn and their Mothers and Fathers, an ecumenical morning service was held at the Congress Heart Building at Capitol Hill. It was very inspiring, Jessica said. She explained how Tony Melendez, a man who was born without any arms, played the guitar beautifully with his feet while he sang. After he sang, Jessica recalled Melendez said Look at me, I was born without any arms, would you consider me abortion material? After the service, the Trevails took the subway to visit the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, while the Holzers went to the Smithsonian Museum. The annual trip to Washington began eight years ago at Jessicas request. At eight years old, Jessica saw an article in the newspaper about the National March for Life and asked her mother if she could march in it. At that young age, she was already well aware of the abortion controversy. She had been walking in the Plattsburgh event since she was a toddler, and was accustomed to accompanying her mother when she prayed in front of Planned Parenthood, sometimes on a weekly basis. Christine decided they would go, and she called her longtime friend Carol to see if she and her then nine-year-old daughter Alaina would like to accompany them. Christine, Carol and the girls became friends at a YMCA playgroup when the girls were just babies, and their friendship grew over the years. It was decided they would all make the trip together. After that first trip, they knew participating in the national event would be an annual part of their lives for years to come. Most years, the party of four has traveled down to Washington on a bus that leaves from St. Peters Church in Plattsburgh the night before the march. After an all-night bus ride, they march and then take an all-night bus ride back to Plattsburgh. For the last several years, another mother and daughter duo has helped make the bus trip more affordable. Karen Smith and her mother, Betty Buffet, both from Plattsburgh, make the bus arrangements and undertake fundraising to cover much of the expense. Consequently, the round trip bus fare to Washington and back only costs participants $25. The long hours on the bus are quite a physical challenge, as are the long hours outside on foot all day, surrounded by tens of thousands of people. When the girls were very young, there was the stress of making sure they werent lost in the crowd. Christine and my daughter Alaina walked slower than Jessica and I, and we would get mixed up, Carol said, laughing. I would end up with Jessica, while Christine would end up with Alaina. As a young adult today, Jessica feels though the abortion issue seems very complex, it really comes down to one simple issue: whether or not the unborn is a member of the human family. It is so obvious to see that it is by looking at a sonogram, she said. If the unborn is a member of the human family, then killing him or her to benefit others would be a serious moral wrong. If the unborn is a member of the human family, then he or she deserves a chance to live, and issues of choice and privacy are irrelevant to that. The Holzers and the Trevails firmly believe the unborn is every bit as human as they are, and that is why they endure two consecutive nights trying to sleep on a bus. It took the four a few days to recuperate from the trip especially the mothers. But, it is a sacrifice they feel good about. It was wonderful as usual, Alaina said of her experience. When I am marching, I feel like I am speaking for the unborn babies and that makes me feel really good.

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