I Remember Chattanooga’s First March For Life

Friday, January 21, 2022

This Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, Greater Chattanooga Right to Life will hold its March for Life assembling at 10:30 a.m. at the Coolidge Park Pavilion. I hope you will attend.  

I remember the first March for Life in Chattanooga held 35 years ago on Jan. 22, 1987. The march consisted of 14 people: Dan Martino, Doyle Ratterree and his wife who was carrying their infant daughter in her arms, myself, my wife and our eight children ages 12 and down: five adults and nine children. What a show of force! 

The police had closed off two lanes of Market Street from the bridge to Miller Park. We really looked tiny against that mile of vacant road. It was an exercise in embarrassment as this little band of nobodies took 30 minutes to cross the bridge and walk that mile or so to the park. Dan Martino and I spoke to the “crowd” when we got to the park. We expressed our belief that God would end the shedding of innocent blood in Chattanooga. We closed the rally with a prayer that He would do so.   

Five years later, a lot had happened. On May 17, 1993, Chattanooga’s last abortion clinic was closed. In addition, no hospital would do abortions and no doctor in town would take patients for abortions. Chattanooga became the largest city in the nation without an abortion clinic. And it still is 29 years later. 

May 17 was Dan Martino’s birthday. He worked hard and took a lot of criticism over the years. I think that the closing of the last abortion clinic on his birthday was God saying to Dan, “I love you. Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” 

Looking back 35 years, I am encouraged to say that standing for right does win: Little is much when God is in it! 

Charlie Wysong   



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