When people asked me how many I expected at the Rally for Life in Toronto on October 1, I said , “Oh, we should get around fifteen thousand.” But, in my heart, I doubted that number and was prepared for a ten thousand total.
Never in my wildest dreams did I—or anybody else for that matter—expect such a tremendous response.
Some say there were forty thousand, the police said there were thirty-five thousand. I’m prepared to settle for anything from thirty-five to thirty thousand. The numbers are important but the spirit is of far greater moment—and spirit there was in abundance! I have tried to analyze it, but somehow it eludes capture. It seemed to be the accumulation of a number of deep emotions.
Perhaps the slow realization, coming to birth, that here is something fearsome – the destruction of human life on a vast scale, the arrogant shaking of the human fist in the Face of the Almighty, the donning by puny man of the Mantle of God. And all this summed up in the decision by human beings as to which of their brothers and sisters may live of die!
Whether or not my analysis is valid is not important, but whatever knitted that disparate crowd into a close, united, body could tax the thinking powers of abler minds and pens than mine.
Joy and friendship
The atmosphere was one of common joy and mutual friendship – it seemed to ripple through the crowd. People who had never before seen or met each other shook hands and chatted like old friends.
Then, came the buses. They rolled up University Avenue like huge tanks and disgorged their human cargo. What a span of humanity that was! Every age and race and occupation of Canada was represented.
Canada in microcosm
I was introduced to an old lady of ninety in a wheelchair and from her down, not a decade was missing; we got the teenagers, the under twelve, the under fives, the infants-in-arms and those who had not yet seem the light of day, and who became the most important people present. In cryptic but trenchant terms, the placards said everything that could be said in favour of the Unborn Child. The Unborn Babies of Canada were the toast of the occasion.
The power of silence
The silent walk past that sad, sad little building which offers death and destruction to the weak and defenseless was the second most impressive aspect if the day. Speech is silver, silence is golden: thirty thousand people walking in complete silence with heads bowed can speak more eloquently than the writing of a Shakespeare or the oratory of a Churchill. This, I say, was the second most impressive aspect. It was not the apex.
Let them live
That came at the conclusion of the excellent speech by Chuck Roche, Chairman of the Durham Right to Life Association. Chuck was looking for a dramatic ending and – was it an inspiration! – he concluded in ringing tones, “Let them live; Let them live.” As if by a sign from the baton of an invisible conductor, the thousands of teenagers in the front lines took up the refrain, “Let them live, Let them live.” It flowed like a huge tidal wave back through the crowd and, within seconds, thirty thousand throats were echoing the cry, “Let them live.”
It was totally spontaneous, and I believe we have found a great expression of the Right to Life. It expresses in three short words everything for which we stand. I challenge the pro-abortionists to take the reverse as their battle cry – “ Let them die; Let them die.”
A note of caution
It was a wonderful, exciting and thrilling day; a day etched in our memories for ever. But I must sound a note of warning. The war for the unborn is still far from won. On October 1st we gained a hill-top from which we can survey the scene with renewed hope and courage. But wars have been lost in spite of, and perhaps because of, battles won.
We can never sit back and relax. The “Clinic” is just one small square on a battle field of immense proportions. Undoubtedly we have gained a few yards, but “We have many miles to go before we sleep.”