A number of Jefferson City-area supporters attended Friday's March for Life in Washington, D.C. They were among about 100,000 people at the pro-life rally, the first to be directly addressed by a sitting president.
The march has been held annually since 1974, the year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.
President Donald Trump appeared via satellite from the White House to offer remarks to marchers. Previous presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush in the past have addressed the anti-abortion movement via phone or recording.
Trump told listeners Vice President Mike Pence and his wife are "true champions for life."
He said the marchers all came to the nation's capital for one cause: To build a society where life is celebrated and cherished.
He said the March for Life is a movement born out of love.
"You love your families, you love your neighbors, you love our nation," he told listeners. "And you love every child born and unborn."
Also speaking from the White House, Pence told the gathered crowd the president has been a defender of life.
He said the Supreme Court turned its back from one of Americans' inalienable rights, that of life.
Students from Helias High School went to Washington for the national March for Life rally. A group of eighth-grade students and teachers from St. Joseph Cathedral School in Jefferson City also attended the march. Principal Spencer Allen was with them.
While marching in Washington, Allen called home to Jefferson City and described the president's appearance. He said the series of speeches was energizing to his students.
"They really got these young people energized and ready to save lives through their prayers and through their actions," Allen said. "You can look around and see it on their faces."
Students held their signs high after the speech, he added.
Fourteen-year-old Raygan Hamilton said people were passing out signs as the march started. She picked up one whose message she liked.
It said: "LOVE LIFE, CHOOSE LIFE."
As she walked, Hamilton said, there were so many people in the crowd she couldn't see the end of the march.
"I think if we keep on marching we'll probably override Roe v. Wade," Hamilton said.
In its 1973 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortions.
Like Molly Driscoll, 13, most of the students had never been involved in any kind of activism, let alone a pro-life march in Washington, D.C.
"I would like to do it again," Driscoll said. She added, "Hopefully this is the last year we'll have to go on the march because (abortion) will be illegal."
Hearing the president speak to them was humbling to all the young people, according to 14-year-old Brady Wright. He said he was also humbled by the number of people who attended the rally.
"It was cool that this was the first president to speak to us," he said.