A Brief Milwaukee Area LifeChain History ‘87-‘16
The first LifeChain, born through prayer, was built in 1987 by "Please Let Me Live", a small but dedicated ProLife ministry in Yuba City, California headed by Royce Dunn. It stretched for three miles and held 2,500 Christian soldiers holding “Abortion Kills Children” signs. According to "Please Let Me Live" the event was a time of self-evaluation (repentance) and prayerful thanksgiving for God's church. It was also a powerful, revealing witness to many thousands of motorists. Typical participant responses were: "I felt God's presence." and “It was good to stand for righteousness."
The second LifeChain was built in Bakersfield, CA. in September of 1989. It contained 7,500 prayer warriors. By February 1991, California had LifeChains in 35 cities. Nationally, there were 771,000 participants in 170 cities in 42 states standing on an estimated 1,500 miles of sidewalks. 1992 had 975,000 participants in 800 cities. 1993 saw LifeChains across North America with people in 875 cities in 50 states. Since ‘92 "Please Let Me Live" has not published any individual counts except the number of cities in the US and Canada that continue to host LifeChains.
Wisconsin's the first LifeChain was held in Milwaukee on December 2, 1990, a cold windy Sunday afternoon. The route, about 16 miles of streets, was appropriately begun at the War Memorial on the shore of Lake Michigan and extended up Wisconsin Avenue and Blue Mound Road to 124th Street. The bar of the cross was Highway 100 from Burleigh Street to National Avenue. These 10,000 cold-braving souls showed Milwaukee for the first time that there are many who call on the Lord and stand opposed to the shedding of innocent blood. One young mother who had been planning to abort her child stopped and talked to people on the LifeChain. Today she has a son named Jacob.
October 6, 1991 was Milwaukee’s second LifeChain with 6,000 people. Waukesha held it’s first that same day with 2,300 people and Madison had 4,500 LifeChainers. Across Wisconsin there were LifeChains in 10 cities with a total of 18,675 people holding one of two signs “Abortion Kills Children”, or “Jesus Forgives And Heals”.
October 4, 1992 Wisconsin hosted 22 LifeChains with a total of 25,595 participants. The combined Milwaukee to Waukesha LifeChain had an official count of 9,665. The Wisconsin Avenue Bridge closed the day after the ‘91 LifeChain for rebuilding because of this in ‘92 & ‘93 we began at Hawley Road and stretched into Waukesha.
October 3, 1993 Wisconsin saw 16,000 standing in 18 LifeChains with 8000 in Milwaukee and Waukesha.
The ‘94 Wisconsin total was 10,679 in 15 LifeChains. The Milwaukee to Waukesha LifeChain counted 5100. We returned to the original starting point at the War Memorial on the shore of Lake Michigan and extended up Wisconsin Avenue and Bluemound Road into Waukesha County. The bar of the cross was Highway 100 from Capitol Drive to Oklahoma Avenue. The Chain lined 23 miles of streets/46 miles of sidewalk.
1995 the sixth LifeChain with 6,000 participants in Milwaukee/Waukesha. 17 Wisconsin cities held LifeChains.
1996 the seventh Milwaukee LifeChain had about 6,000 participants. 23 Wisconsin cities held LifeChains.
1997 had 4,500 participants in the Milwaukee area. 21 Wisconsin cities. Nationally there were 800 cities with LifeChains.
1998 had 4,000 participants in the Milwaukee area. 16 Wisconsin cities held LifeChains.
1999, 10th 3,500 people from 150 area churches standing in a cold driving rain. 21 Wisconsin cities.
2000, 11th 3,736 participants in the 11th annual Milwaukee Area LifeChain with 16 Wisconsin cities participated.
2001, 12th 3,810 Milwaukee area participants. 24 Wisconsin cities participated.
2002, 13th 3,509 participants from 140 Milwaukee area churches. 24 Wisconsin cities participated.
2003, 14th 3,093 participants from 147 Milwaukee area churches. 24 Wisconsin cities participated.
2004, 15th 2,900 participants from 126 Milwaukee area churches. 24 Wisconsin cities participated.
2005, 16th 2,750 participants from 125 Milwaukee area churches. 32 Wisconsin cities participated.
2006, 17th 2,600 participants from 123 Milwaukee area churches. 36 Wisconsin cities participated.
2007, 18th 2,662 participants from 124 Milwaukee area churches. 37 Wisconsin cities participated.
2008, 19th 2,120 participants from 109 Milwaukee churches in a cold driving rain. 39 Wisconsin cities participated.
2009, 20th 2,202 participants from 117 Milwaukee area churches. 37 Wisconsin cities participated.
2010, 21st 1,974 participants from 105 Milwaukee area churches. 41 Wisconsin cities participated.
2011, 22nd 1,718 participants from 92 Milwaukee area churches. 42 Wisconsin cities participated.
2012, 23rd 1,548 participants from 84 Milwaukee area churches. 42 Wisconsin cities participated.
2013, 24th 1,200 participants from 77 Milwaukee area churches. 42 Wisconsin cities participated.
2014, 25th 1,362 participants from 79 Milwaukee area churches. 42 Wisconsin cities participated.
2015, 26th No registration in Milwaukee, no official count. 37 Wisconsin cities participated.
2016, 27th No registration in Milwaukee, no official count. 35 Wisconsin cities participated.
Since the beginning of LifeChain literally millions of people have stood along the roads of America and other countries holding our now familiar signs. No doubt many millions more have seen these signs. There are many reports from various cities of children saved and lives changed. One reported response was "I couldn't get the ‘Abortion Kills Children’ message out of my mind". In city after city the LifeChain has expanded ProLife awareness as Christians are once again engaging society by moving from the pews to the streets to stand publicly as salt and light, against abortion, the gravest social evil America has yet seen.