Tuesday, November 04, 2008

YES WE DID TRIBUTE: Obama in Columbia, Missouri

Anticipation. The signs that appeared all over Columbia announcing the event.

The Story.

Background. My youngest daughter Rachel asked me if we could go see Barack Obama. I told her that if he came to town we would go.

Rachel. Inside our Succah the week before.

Then, out of the blue the campaign unexpectedly made a decision for Obama to come to Columbia. I kept my promise. I went to the event with Rachel, her sister Hannah, and their older sister Jessica as well as Jessica's boyfriend. My mother-in-law drove in from St. Louis to go with us.

Queuing. We get in line. 5 p.m.

And queuing. Still waiting in line. We have over an hour to go and have been waiting already for over an hour. Starting to get dark.

T-shirts. While waiting in line we buy some souvenirs. I really wish I had bought Hannah and Rachel another shirt! The ones I did buy they wore to school the next day. Neither girl complained once. They knew they were part of something big. They will never forget this. The line is not moving yet.

Moving. Line starts moving sometime after 7:30 p.m.

Inside. The venue - bright lights and crowds.

Waiting. Inside the venue is my oldest daughter Jessica with me and her little sisters. She drove all the way down from Truman to be a part of history. After 9 p.m.

Arrival. Obama arrives at 9:20 p.m. and even ten minutes early. I have never been at one of these events where the candidate was actually early! Is he a night owl? I think so.

The speech. An excerpt from then candidate, now President, Obama's speech.

Leaving. Heading North, that is Jesse Hall in the background, toward the now empty security tents. This is where we came in emptying our pockets and going through the metal detector.

This was all before the election. We were all hopeful and thankfully our dreams did come true.

Prologue. November 4th - on my way to work I stopped to vote.

Work. When I got to work their were two Obama booths set up in the lobby. Here is one of them with the two children that were there that day with their mother. Columbia Public schools had decided for various reasons to dismiss school for the day.

Perhaps the two most moving scenes latter that night were both at the victory celebration in Chicago latter that night. Here is the Rev. Jesse Jackson who is completely overcome with emotion at the sight of his brother achieving what he himself had not been able to do and fulfilling Dr. King's vision:

The other was Obama with his wife and two little girls - making history.

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