Before President Obama delivered his victory speech in front of a crowd of thousands packed inside Chicago’s McCormick Place, a video played on the Jumbotrons throughout the room. The crowd looked on as the story of how Edith Childs got President Obama “fired up” during his first presidential campaign was shown.
It was a rainy, dreary day when then-Senator Obama visited the small town of Greenwood, S.C. Childs was part of a small group who had come to welcome the presidential hopeful to their hometown. The energy in the room was much like the day’s weather—that is until the petite woman abruptly began a simple chant that changed the entire mood: “Fired up! Ready to go!” The group, including Obama and his staff, joined in the chant, and like that, the morale of the assembly became vivacious and alive! “Fired up! Ready to go!” became a quasi theme for many Obama campaign rallys thereafter.
Following the moving video, Childs had done it again: The McCormick Place crowd was fired up and ready to go!
Throughout the evening, the energy inside of McCormick Place went to several extremes. Anxieties were high during the early part of the evening as Republican candidate Mitt Romney was neck-and-neck with President Obama for electoral votes in various swing states. You could see the nervous look upon people’s faces as Romney took the lead over Obama at certain points during the night. Then there were small victories, including Maryland’s legalization of same-sex marriage, which thrilled the roaring crowd who waved mini American flags and boosted the excitement for the much-anticipated presidential victory announcement. In between projection announcements, music blared over loud speakers and people swayed together, danced to the point of sweating and sang as loud as they could to oldies-but-goodies like Kool Moe Dee’s “How Ya Like Me Now.” It was during these moments that you could feel the unity of a community of people coming together as one and preparing themselves for a moment, which would forever be written in history.
At about 10:12 p.m. CST, the packed audience erupted in a thunderous cheer when CNN announced President Obama as the projected winner of the 2012 presidential race. There didn’t seem to be a stranger in the room as people beamed with joy, held hands, hugged, shed tears, jumped in excitement and slapped high fives in celebration of a second Obama victory. The American people had made history, yet again.
Almost two hours later, the president arrived and greeted the crowd with his wife, Michelle, and daughters Sasha and Malia. He then addressed the large assembly in true Obamaesque style, speaking of his road to Election Day and telling the stories of Americans he’s met along the way. He encouraged the crowd’s members to do their part in helping to change the nation and move the country in a new direction.
The president instilled a message of hope to the American people saying, “I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.”
We hear you, Mr. President. We’re ready to move forward.