Pat Wagner (left) heads the morning stop at Illinois Valley Ccommunity College April 20 [Photo by EJS]
After enduring the mayhem at the University of Illinois at Chicago, it was a pleasure to bring the Tour to a more supportive higher education setting for the La Salle County Face the Truth Day. On April 20, I traveled with my twelve-year-old son Nate and a van-load of signs to coordinate the Truth Day with Pat Wagner and Illinois Valley Citizens for Life (IVCFL).
We met Pat at the office of IVCFL in Ottawa, IL, a ninety-minute drive from Chicago. After lunch, we scouted out the sites of Tour planned for the next day, Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC) and Ottawa High School. We paid particular attention to the traffic flow at the high school, choosing spots for our signs that would reach the maximum number of students in cars and school buses.
The Wrath of Nature
In the afternoon Nate and I followed Pat to her house in the country, where we were spending the night. After dinner, the sky darkened. I went out in the yard with Pat’s husband Craig so he could use the ham radio in his truck to find out what the weather was doing. We were just in time to see funnel clouds begin swirling over the field across the highway. A tornado took shape and touched down about a mile away, tearing up the ground—an awesome sight.
After the tornado had passed, we returned to the IVCFL office for a Face the Truth training seminar. Though delayed by the weather, the seminar went forward, laying the groundwork for a successful “trial run” Face the Truth Tour the next day. Afterwards we returned to Pat’s house, where the power was out. Nate and I got ready for bed by flashlight.
Tour comes right on campus for noon stop at IVCC [Photo by EJS]
We awoke early the next day for the first of two stops at IVCC. Our group of a dozen pro-lifers was able to reach hundreds of students driving onto campus in the morning when we lined the main entrance, and at noon when we came right onto campus and lined the main sidewalk to the parking lots and distributed hundreds of pieces of literature. There were, of course, some who disagreed with our message, but most students were polite and many were supportive. Campus security was extremely cooperative.
Angry Residents React to Tour
In the afternoon we took the Tour to Ottawa High School and faced angry opposition from some residents in the neighborhood around the school. Police arrived just in time to diffuse the situation before a particularly irate resident could follow through on his threats of violence. Ironically, several area parents concerned that their children might see our abortion pictures apparently weren’t troubled that the kids might see their parents ranting, raving and swearing out on the street.
With only four signs lined up at the exit of the school parking lot, we were able to reach hundreds of students in cars and busses as they left the school, while another eight volunteers held signs across from the main entrance and two distributed literature. Reaction from students was about evenly mixed between support and opposition, with younger students generally being more pro-life.
Pro-life students join the Tour at Ottawa H.S. [Photo by EJS]
One student on a bus proudly displayed his “Abortion is Mean” T-shirt and took a stack of literature through the window to distribute on the bus. Three pro-life students who stopped to hold signs for a while and a teacher who came out to thank us for being there were given information on starting up a pro-life club next year.
Can’t Keep Quiet about Abortion
A Mass for the Tour group had been planned at St. Mary’s Church in Utica between the two sites at IVCC, but had to be cancelled because of the tornado, which had ripped through Utica, killing eight poor souls who had sought shelter in the basement of a tavern in a landmark building that we had driven past the day before. In light of this disaster, some area residents criticized the timing of our Tour, but with over 140 babies being killed in abortion facilities throughout Illinois each day, it’s never a good day to keep silent about abortion.
After seeing what can be accomplished by a handful of dedicated pro-lifers, Pat and IVCFL plan to continue Face the Truth Tours at all the high schools in the La Salle county area. For more information, contact Pat Wagner at 815-434-7223 or wagner1(at)ix.netcom.com.
Links and Related Stories
- League Clashes with Pro-Aborts on Campus Face the Truth Tour
— article in this issue of Action News
- Arizonans Launch Their First Face the Truth Tour — article in this issue of Action News