LifeSiteNews is reporting on 44 buses full of pro-life marchers, mostly from Midwestern states, who were attempting to return home after Friday’s March for Life when they became stranded on a seven to 10-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania turnpike.
But it wasn’t the snow that brought traffic to a halt – it was a minor accident that stalled the buses that were trying to outrun one of the worst winter storms to hit the area in decades.
They ran out of luck and before the buses could get underway, snow enveloped the vehicles and the marchers were stuck for the duration of the storm. At one point, traffic was said to have backed up for 32 miles along the turnpike.
By the time the snow abated late Saturday night, some onboard toilets were failing, and water and food supplies were dwindling fast in spite of efforts by the National Guard to keep everyone warm and fed.
Of the dozens of stranded buses, there were marchers from Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Ohio, Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan as well as several from upstate Pennsylvania. Seven busloads of students from Franciscan University of Steubenville students were also among the stranded.
“We are still on a pilgrimage for life including Mass outside in the snow, snowball fights, and making sure those driving by know that every life matters!” said Iowans for LIFE Associated Director Mary Granzow on a Facebook post on Saturday morning.
They made it a point to put their pro-life signs in the snow outside their buses so motorists passing by in the opposing lanes were able to see them.
As the hours dragged on, students and chaperons prayed the Rosary and a Mass was celebrated on an altar made of snow.
“The kids were lining the hill and singing” during the Mass, Trina Hintgen, of Dubuque, told LifeSiteNews. “It was beautiful.”
By 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, the storm was raging and the stranded were told that the roads were closed and the accident that originally caused the backup still hadn’t been cleared away.
“They won’t plow or anything more until the snow stops,” reported Maggie DeWitte, Executive Director of the Iowa pro-life group. “We were told the National Guard was coming but we haven’t seen them. Firemen brought water several hours ago.”
It wasn’t until 3:33 a.m. on Sunday that the buses were finally able to get underway.
“The Cheboygan bus just got freed!” reported Mandie DeVries, of Cheboygan, Michigan Right to Life. “There are still four miles of buses waiting, though. They were first stopped around 10:30 on Friday night. There are over 2200 Marchers stuck on just our little section of the turnpike. I counted 24 buses among the dozens and dozens of semis who are still stuck. I walked about a half mile up the turnpike and talked to every charter bus on the road.”
Thankfully, and very gratefully, all are now on their way home.
The storm resulted in a noticeably lower turnout at the March but it was still much more than the mainstream media reported. Some outlets, such as the Washington Post, claimed that just “hundreds” attended, but aerial views of the march showed much higher numbers. Organizers say more than 40,000 braved the weather to participate in the March.
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