After we finally were inside, I discovered my job was to seat people in the VIP section - hey, I already had a ticket for this section, so I was cool with that. At one point, one of the gentlemen who walked around with little coiled wires coming out of their ears asked me to reserve a couple of seats for his crew - just in case they needed them. Oh boy, talk about being back in High School - now the Federal hall monitors were making me save seats.
Although the event was scheduled to begin at 11:00AM, there was a slight delay. Obama was introduced by Michael Riley, who was the Indiana campaign director for Sen. Robert Kennedy back in 1968. Oddly enough, my first presidential rally was at the ripe age of 13 in Indianapolis - exactly 40 years to the day. It was on that date that Robert Kennedy informed us all that Dr. Martin Luther King had been assassinated, so it was appropriate that the majority of Obama’s speech was about the legacy of Dr. King. And how fortunate for me to have a front row seat at a speech that in no way resembled the other stump speeches the Illinois Senator has given in recent weeks. Today was special.
After his speech, Obama kidded around about being finished, then went on to accept several questions during the town hall style meeting. He handled everything from gun ownership and unions to youth and the environment. The final question came from a youngster who appeared to be around 10 years of age. He wanted to know what inspired Obama to run for president. Obama responded by mentioning Dr. King’s book, “Why We Can’t Wait“. He said there was no time to wait. “Now is the best time.”
Below are two videos - the first is video of the events leading up to Obama’s speech and the second is Obama’s remarks about Dr. King.
All in all it was a very inspiring day.