Calling for what one speaker described as an end to this “great tragedy,” Valley residents participated in Saturday’s Walk for Life through downtown Yakima.

More than 300 people braved bone-chilling cold to participate in the hourlong walk to remember the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States.

A brief service at St. Paul’s Cathedral at 12th and Chestnut avenues preceded the event along Yakima Avenue to Millennium Plaza on South Third Street.

Retired Bishop Emeritus Carlos Sevilla of the Catholic Diocese of Yakima said the annual march signifies a stand for life from the first moment in the womb to death.

“With this march, we give witness to respect for life,” Sevilla said.

Lenette Lindemann, board chairwoman of Image Point Mobile Medical Services, a Selah nonprofit Christian group that sponsored this year’s march, expressed optimism that this is the year that abortion will end in Yakima County.

“That can only happen by a change of heart,” she said.

She applauded the young people who turned out for the march.

“You are the face of the next pro-life generation,” she added.

One speaker, who identified herself only by her first name Christine, said the world recalls the Holocaust during World War II when 6 million Jews perished. She said an estimated 50 million abortions have been performed since the procedure was legalized in 1973.

“Do your part, all of you,” she said. “Don’t let this modern-day Holocaust continue.”

Marchers carried red, blue and pink balloons along the march route, releasing them at the walk’s conclusion at Millennium Plaza.

Yakima police provided escort vehicles along the route. There were no incidents reported.