This morning I rolled out of bed at 5:30am, got dressed, and drove 73.5 miles to Civic Center Park in Denver, Colorado, to attend the "Early Vote for Change Rally with Barack Obama." It was 7:20am when I arrived. The streets hadn't yet been closed to traffic and already several hundred people were in line. I knew there would be a four hour wait before Obama spoke so I'd come prepared with books to review and books on tape to listen to while I waited. Knowing my emotional nature, I'd also stuffed tissue paper in my backpack and was ready to be swept up in the emotions of the moment.
Four hours went by before Obama came to the podium and I neither read nor listened to any books during this time. There's something about standing shoulder to shoulder in the midst of a sea of people that buoys both the heart and the soul and time seems to pass by unnoticed. By the end of Obama's talk I had not used a single tissue. This was a once-in-a-lifetime event for me, not of the emotional gushy type, but of the wonder-filled type.
I never dreamed I'd be one of 100,000+ people who gathered to listen to the person they hoped would be their next president. I'm guessing most people had already decided to vote for Obama. I wonder how many undecided went to the rally in order to see for themselves a bit more of what this candidate was all about. The sea of humanity that surrounded me was vibrant and hope-filled. They belonged to all different political parties. There were Republicans, Democrats, and Independents in the crowd. There were scholars, business people, students, home-makers, folks from all walks of life, from countless different ethnic backgrounds, and of all different ages. I saw tiny little babies, kindergarten and elementary school age kids, high school kids, college kids, older adults, senior citizens. Men and women, young and old, red and yellow, black and white, all together, all voting for hope and not fear, for tomorrow and not yesterday.
Following are photos and videos I took during the event, plus links to related news articles.
The Huffington Post reports that, "Obama Draws More Than 100,000 At Denver Rally." The article carries some great photos of the event, courtesy of Getty. The Associated Press states, "Police estimate the crowd for a rally by Sen. Barack Obama at well over 100,000. Police spokesman Sonny Jackson says the crowd Sunday spilled out of Civic Center Park to the State Capitol and onto surrounding streets as Obama visited Colorado nine days before the election." And KRDO.COM carried an AP press news article stating that, "Not since Pope John Paul II filled the park in 1993 have so many people turned out for an event in Denver's Civic Center Park."
Slide Show Photo Credits: I noted in the slide show the 14 photos taken by Usha Ramamurthy. The rest were taken by me.
Crowd's response as Obama is introduced. He looked at the 100,000 in attendance and joked, "Do you ever have small crowds in Denver?"
Obama's closing remarks as taped by the news media:
100,000 respond to Obama's closing remarks:
- Barack does Denver, 100,000+, No Joke (Pictures)
- Obama Draws More Than 100,000 At Denver Rally (Photos)
- The Moment Obama Grabbed 100,000 Coloradoans
- Police: More than 100,000 watch Obama
Note: On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States. There are high expectations riding on his presidency and he's going to need all the help, wisdom, and guidance he can get in order to meet those expectations. I'm wishing him well, same as I would have McCain had he won the elections. May God bless Obama, his family and his presidency and may God bless the United States of America.