yes we did!

November 05, 2008

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Barack Obama

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that Barack Obama has been elected our next President! Go-bama! Of course, to say I’m excited would be the understatement of the year… I’m still in a bit of shock that things worked out, particularly after all the distractions offered up during the campaign. Thankfully, reason won out and hopefully we can get our country back on the right track.

That said, there is one thing that can top Obama winning the election… Being there in person to see it happen!!! Thanks to an email I received on Sunday night, I learned that I had tickets to the Election Night Rally in Grant Park. They arrived via email on Monday, so Elena and I made plans to spend Tuesday night in the middle of everything. As soon as Elena got back from school, we hopped on the Blue Line and made our way to the big show. Since the gates were supposed to open at 8:30pm (as you can see on the ticket) we stopped for some Chipotle, planning to eat it in line. Of course, when we got there around 5pm, there was no line! They had already started letting people in, and since we couldn’t take our food in, we scarfed it down. Just our luck to find out that everyone had been let into a “holding pen” area at Columbus Drive and Congress Parkway, where we waited for about 45 minutes.

Barack Obama Election Night Event Ticket

Finally, by around 6pm we were on our way through security and waiting for the metal detectors. By the way, the Secret Service really has their stuff together – clear instructions, nice agents, and (most importantly) a solid plan. Much better than the freakin’ airport… Plus the agents can be pretty funny: one person in front of us asked about campaign buttons, and the agent replied with “No worries, those are fine. We know what we’re looking for, and it’s not campaign buttons.”

As soon as we were into Hutchinson Field, we made our way towards the front. I’d say we found a great spot, with a good view of both the stage and the big screen. CNN had the same idea, apparently, since Suzanne Malveaux’s remote team set up camp right behind us… CNN was being shown live on the big screen, and each hour, as the state polls would close, they would make their projections. Depending on the results, the whole crowd would cheer. Or boo… Way more cheering than booing, of course!

Suddenly at 10pm, CNN had some “breaking news” for us to check out. I think we all were expecting some natural disaster, or some other world event, so you can imagine our surprise when they almost calmly announced: “Barack Obama Elected President!” That’s when everything went crazy. Cheering, dancing, jumping, yelling, hugging, crying…. Absolutely ridiculous, and absolutely an amazing sight to behold. The photos cannot do it justice, and neither can any blog posting.

After an extended introduction, we were ready for Obama! And, as expected, he did not disappoint. You can read the transcript online, so I won’t bore you with the details of his acceptance speech. I will say that, at times, you could’ve heard a pin drop. Seeing him in person, especially in that setting, made it crystal clear to me what a powerful speaker he is. I’ve been a fan since early on in his political career, but this was the first time that I’d had the opportunity to see him in person. Hopefully I’ll have the chance again some day.

Once his speech was done, and the music had died down, we turned to go. Being close to the front has a downside: no easy exit. It took at least 30 min to get out onto Columbus, and from there we made our way to Michigan. The city had closed off most of the loop, and the police were out in force. We walked west to catch a cab, since there were literally thousands of people waiting for the L…. The best scene was around the Dirksen Federal Building, where US Marshals had submachine guns and barricades. If we hadn’t been anxious to get some food and hit the bathroom (7 hours is a long time) I would’ve stopped to get some more pics.

All in all, the night was unforgettable… I’m honored just to have been a part of it, and hope this re-telling helps those of you that couldn’t be there in person. Here’s to the next four years – may they be used wisely to get this country back on the right track. Most importantly, here’s to you, Obama. We’re with you.

Yes we can. And yes we did.

HOPE, yes we can! obama stickers, b&w skyline, november 4th
election night, 2008 obama elected, horns barack obama


Obama Election Night Rally 2008 - Images by Andrew Stott

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