(For another account of the day, see this post from Grand Old Partisan blog. Mr. Zak happened to be sitting in front of us, and we intro'd ourselves when we realized we each had a blog.)
I'm glad we got there early. It was an unusually hot day (high 80s) and I was an idiot for not bringing sunscreen. Have the sunburn to prove it. :-/
At least I had my "Proud Conservative" cap and sunglasses. (I didn't get a pic of me with my camera-- however, my in-laws did with theirs and I'm awaiting it, after which I'll post it here and send it on to ya, Trent :-)
Got my souvenirs. Gawd, there were so many different buttons and T-shirts. "Read My Lipstick... Change is Coming" is my fave.
The line wasn't too bad, and we moved along pretty quickly.
Here's a sign that we passed along the way.
Yep, can't argue with that.
They apparently decided to open up before 11:00. It had been moved from the Arthur Ashe Center to Richmond International Raceway. We were anticipating that it would have been at the actual stadium, but I can only imagine it was a cost issue, because the rally ended up being in the VIP parking lot with a couple of bleachers and standing room only. We were among the few lucky ones, as we got some of the last remaining seats. We were left of the flag as you face the stage.
People kept pouring in. The estimates were anywhere from 10 - 20,000. I think closer to 10,000.
And once the area inside the gated portion was full (everyone had to go through security to get into that section), they let those in line free to walk up to the gate, and had police posted at various intervals.
Before the events got underway, I decided to head to the porta-johns. On my way there, I was stopped by a UK reporter (*Martin Fletcher) who asked me some questions. I notice he didn't quote anything *I* told him. Probably didn't support his left-wing slant enough.
We were sitting to the left of the flag, about a third of the way down from the top row, and about a third of the way in from the right.
I couldn't identify many news crews, but CNN was prominent. Bah.
The color guard:
Former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore gave a rousing speech.
I did take some video, but am not posting most of it due to lousy sound quality. Whenever the crowd cheered, it was too much for the little mic on the Kodak.
We were surprised and pleased to see Hank Williams, Jr. introduced, and loved the debut of his new "McCain-Palin Tradition" song.
(Found this one on YouTube along with the intro of Sarah and Todd. Good job by "opditch" ).
This part of Sarah's speech got a thunderous response from the crowd.
After the event was over Sarah, Todd and Hank "dove" into the mosh pit and signed autographs for about an hour. We stayed around for a little while as the seats around us emptied out and I was able to get some video with some decent sound. I loved the music they played during this time, starting out with Shania's "Not Just A Pretty Face"
By the time they made it about 3/4 of the way around and facing us, I took this vid. About half-way through, one of my faves by Sara Evans "Born to Fly" was playing. When Todd acknowledged the crowd including us up in the bleachers, that drew cheers.
I said that "If she ever became President, Todd would be 'First Hunk'" to which a lady next to me replied "And she'd be hunkette!"
They are an amazingly good-looking couple, and seem so genuinely warm.
The crowd was very well behaved, which isn't surprising. We're conservative.
My first political rally ever, and despite the heat and long time sitting and standing, I would do it all over again. What an experience.
And all of those red shirts in one place! It "done my heart good", and gave me hope that a McCain-Palin ticket has a real chance.
Don't stay home, my fellow conservatives and republicans. We can still win this.
*H/T to ConClub'r "Wes" who found the article.