On Day 28 of my eighth cycle of giving, I gave my presence at the Obama Rally in Chicago's Grant Park on election night since I happened to be in town. This is some video I shot during the evening.
Grant Park was only a couple blocks away from the hotel I stayed in, so I decided to walk down Michigan Avenue and check out the rally rather than watch it on tv in my room. The sidewalks were full on both sides of the street and there was a river of people heading to the park, most of them wearing Obama t-shirts and pins. There were people singing and dancing in the streets and the energy was jovial and peaceful. There were American flags waving everywhere you looked and people with their faces painted red, white and blue. I actually saw Obama's motorcade as it turned off of Michigan Ave and then looped around to where they entered the park. The cheers that swelled up on the street as they drove by were deafening.
I didn't have a ticket so I knew I wouldn't get into the temporary arena where the main stage was, but I totally lucked out that near the entrance I came through there was a huge LCD screen with a live CNN feed playing. Not many people had noticed the screen yet so I managed to get a prime spot. There was a huge flower pot with the tree growing in it about 100 yards from the screen so I had someone help me climb up into the pot so I could lean against the tree.
I arrived right before the California returns came in and Obama officially received enough electoral votes to be declared the winner. By that time, I was surrounded by several thousand people who cheered during McCain's concession speech and then Obama's address to the nation. I could hear Obama's real speech echoing out of the arena as I watched and heard it coming from the CNN feed. I walked home back down Michigan Avenue to more singing and dancing in the streets and swells of celebratory cheers that would rise up spontaneously from the crowds who filled all six lanes of the street the sidewalks AND the center median on Michigan Ave. I'm so glad I decided to go out even though I was tired. I got to witness what was likely one of the most historic events in my lifetime--the election of our first African American president. I can honestly say that last night was the first time in my 35-year-long life that I felt proud to be an American.