I was in Grant Park on Tuesday night, not in the actual event, but standing with thousands of people just outside of the fenced area. When CNN called it for Obama, everyone started yelling and cheering and hugging each other. I stood there stunned for a minute before I began to clap and cheer also. Couples embraced, people cried, including me. The huge jumbotron showed the words "Obama" and "president" and it was an incredible moment.
Maybe you saw the images of Chicago's Grant Park. Everyone was just celebrating. We quieted down to politely watch John McCain's concession speech, applauded him (I thought it was a really good speech) and then waited for Barack.
We had to wait through about five piped-in songs (maybe he was talking to Bush?), before he came out. Barack Obama. Our home town guy. It felt amazing to be watching a presidential acceptance speech in my own city. I was also happy to be surrounded by thousands of people who supported him, many of whom had worked hard to get Obama elected. I hadn't attended any rallies and hadn't yet felt that energy.
Afterwards, we spilled out onto Michigan Avenue where vendors hawked t shirts, buttons, and hats. I bought a couple of buttons, but didn't get my favorite shirt that I saw: "Yes, we did." I greatly regret not buying anything but two buttons because I realize I should have stocked up.
Energy was high and I think people were reluctant to go home, even though we all work in the morning. There were MANY police officers out, very prominently. Even when I got back to my neighborhood, Rogers Park, which is an hour train ride from downtown, there were several police officers standing in the train station, which is the end of the line.
But I haven't heard of any incidents at all. We were just happy.
Amazing night. I got three hours of sleep and that's why I didn't blog yesterday.