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Visit to historic site prompts profound reaction on pilgrims


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WASHINGTON -- Because of a tight schedule, pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Boston at the March for Life skipped much of the sight-seeing plans for their time in Washington from Jan. 22 until Jan. 24.

One busload of students and leaders took a short break from their pilgrimage to visit the Lincoln memorial on Jan. 23.

Speaking with The Pilot, during the 15-minute interlude, one student and one leader described their feelings.

"This place makes me feel inspired and it's very big. It shows what this country has come through and what we have been through and how we have overcome challenges," Savannah Bynum, freshman at Central Catholic, said.

Bynham said she hopes someone will step forward to lead the United States away from the tragedy of abortion, like the Great Emancipator led the country away from the tragedy of slavery.

"It makes me think that one person, one inspiring person, can make a difference," Bynham said.

After Congress passed a bill creating the Lincoln Memorial in 1910, crews began construction in 1914 completing the monument in 1922.

The monument took over ten years to build, but less than ten minutes to move one of the visitors to tears.

As Brother Rene D. Roy read Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address tears rolled down his face.

"After those very heart-felt thoughts about who we are, and what our destiny is on this planet, it just seems like it is falling apart," he said, descending the steps where Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in 1963.

"But with the firm resolve and the dedication of those who have gone before us we shall overcome that," Brother Rene said.

He looked around at the students with whom he came to the capital to stand against abortion.

"There is a lot of hope in these young people, but there are times when it just seems so degenerated, but it will be rejuvenated like the park will be rebuilt," he said.

Crews worked at the $31.6 million repairs to the reflecting pool, as Brother Rene walked back toward the bus.

The words of Lincoln's second inaugural address reminded him, he said, of "the moral decline, the indifference of people to God and to the Church and to the teachings -- traditional teachings -- of the centuries. There is just kind of an ignorance and thus an indifference."

The words inscribed inside the monument come from a man who seems uncertain of triumph.

"With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured," the engraved marble says.

"I think this just gives us a great challenge to face. We are not facing Roman persecution, but we are facing a kind of more subtle dissolution of the established message of Jesus, the established ways of the past," Brother Rene said.

"But there is always hope that is why we're here, as long as we are alive there is hope," Brother Rene said.

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