‘Twas just last Monday (27th October 2008) that we learned that Senator Barack Obama would be visiting SRQ today (Thursday 30th October 2008) – just five days before the General Election.
I so much wanted to attend, but not alone. So I was pleased to hear that my friends Mike and Charles would attend. We walked together today to the Ed Smith Stadium, just over a mile away from my home.
We arrived at 7:50 a.m. and already there were about 2,000 people in line ahead of us. And they began to arrive, thousands and thousands in the line behind us.
The Stadium gates opened as promised at 9:00 a.m., and the line moved quickly through “security”, staffed by Sarasota Police, (who were incredibly polite, professional, and efficient).
Mike, Charles and I were in our seats by 9:30 a.m. with an hour and a half to wait.
In the crowds streamed, ‘til we totalled nearly 13,000.
The program started on time with “wind-up” speeches by local politicians. A great cheer erupted when we saw the arrival of Senator Obama’s entourage!
Senator Nelson (D) who represents Florida in the (national) Senate, welcomed Senator Obama, who sprinted from the tent where he had been waiting – to the podium. We went wild!
Barack Obama offered his 40 minute stump speech. We had heard it all before on T.V. But today it was electrifying to hear it in person, from the Democratic Party candidate himself.
“WE” were black, white and Hispanic.
“WE” were abled and disabled.
“WE” were folks older than I, down to babes in arms.
“WE” were many College, and very many High School students who had skipped classes for the day.
I was so happy to see so many people under the age of 25 - perhaps one quarter of the crowd.
I have been “pumped” all day.
See my second blog of the day for some photo’s of the event.