Thursday, November 8, 2012

Obama - More Determined, More Inspired than Ever

What a Tuesday night! I'm sure most of you were watching the election returns and holding your breath for the candidate you supported. In Chicago, the atmosphere was tense and energetic as everyone waited together to hear the results of the election. What was most exciting, of course, was that President Obama and his family were in Chicago... and we were right there with him!
Both Mohanned and I had the opportunity to go to McCormick Place to see the president speak after the election results, although from very different standpoints. As the photo editor for The Daily Northwestern, I was at the event as press with another editor who was writing the story. Mohanned, however, was a campaign guest because he had spent the weekend canvassing in Iowa. The best part is that we didn't even realize we were in the same place until we got there! 
Because I was press, I had to be at the event at 3pm (SO EARLY!). I spent the day reading This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz and counting down the hours until the event would officially begin. When 7pm rolled around, I set up post on the media risers and didn't move because I was afraid that someone would take my place (which was already pretty far from the stage). From there, I watched the results from six (!) different news channels at once. Because the screens were so far from me, I was using my 300mm lens to actually read them... Haha. 
On the other end was Mohanned. He was standing in a crowd of thousands of people and could barely see the stage. Although we could spot each other, we weren't allowed to leave our designated spots or move forward. We both knew that the president wouldn't be speaking for hours... five hours to be exact... and we both wanted to be closer than we were standing. As the time passed, we cheered with the other Obama supporters as we watched the US map turn blue. 
The energy was intoxicating. Beside Mohanned, there were older women dancing and singing along to the music being played in the hall. Beside me were journalists from all around the country and the world. Everyone was waiting. 
When President Obama was finally declared the winner, the hall erupted in cheers. I knew that it was time to take action. Before anyone could ask what I was doing, I slipped between the bars that separated them media from the crowd of "special guests" (they had the closest spot to the stage) and waded my way through, so that I'd have a good chance of getting the perfect photo. I texted Mohanned and he too snuck into the crowd of "special guests." However, it was another hour before the president finally spoke. When he did emerge from behind the blue curtain, though, there was no quieting his supporters. People were crying and hugging and laughing. There were even a few fainters! 
Although the day was long, I have to say it was one of the best experiences of my life. Neither of us will never forget it. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to be in the presence of such amazing people and to have had the chance to photograph and hear the president on the night of his re-election. We've included our best photos from the evening and we'll be including more on our Facebook page. We hope that you enjoy them (and if you decide to share them, that you credit us)! For full coverage of election night, you can check The Daily Northwestern and listen to President Obama's speech here

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