Yesterday, I got the once in a lifetime opportunity to go to a presidential rally and see the candidate himself. I have been reflecting on the experience all morning and am trying to find the words to describe the day. If I had to pick just one word, I would say, amazing.
A co-worked has been working with the democratic party and invited me to the rally. I jumped at the opportunity and got BD to pick up the kids and shuttle them around. We left work around 1:45 and I followed him to a shopping center parking lot, where we left my minivan. From there, we traveled to another shopping center across from the event where we attempted to park, but were turned away and told to go park at the amphitheater. We did so and hopped on a bus to take us to the UNCC campus. Our bus driver got lost. Can you believe that? He wasted about 20 minutes getting us there, so we were further back in line, but that didn't dampen our mood. We were awed at the amount of people in line in front of us when we arrived. We later learned how much longer the line had become (for those familiar, we were told it went all the way out to 49 and on 49 to WT Harris, this is standing people, not cars).
While waiting in line, we met many people. One lady, who lived in Greensboro, told us of her travels to see Obama at various locations throughout the campaign. I was simply amazed at the dedication of people. At one point, the cross-country team for UNCC ran by. Most had McCain stickers on their half naked bodies, but one held a sign:
At one point, a worker told me I may not be able to take my camera in because my zoom may be too great on my lens. I was worried. But, when we finally got up to the security area, it wasn't a problem. We got in and headed to the stage area. This was my initial view:
As we stood, towards the front of the crowd, things filled in behind us:
There was a special set of seats for those that had worked that actual day for the campaign. Lucky people!
It poured down rain for quite a while. They erected a canopy over the podium and some of the local democrats and others spoke. After that, it miraculously stopped raining. The canopy was removed and Obama arrived. What a time. There were cell phones and cameras everywhere.
There was this one darn light right in our faces, the entire time!
And it was a little foggy too.
Afterwards, as we walked back to meet my co-workers wife, who is a professor at the university, we saw lots of things. Everything from Secret Service Police with binoculars bigger than any I had ever seen before to news media. Here is a shot inside a news van:
It was an amazing experience that I soon will not forget. I found out this morning that both kids voted in class yesterday, and both voted for Obama. I guess my influence has gone far. They went with me to vote this morning, as they wanted to see how it all worked. My district had a paper ballot and they watched me fill in the bubbles. When through, all three of us got an "I Voted" sticker.
I can't wait to find out the results!