Even before Barack Obama's victory was announced, tens of thousands gathered in Grant Park, Chicago, wearing Barack Obama hats, pins and T-shirts in a massive celebratory gathering.
GRANT PARK, CHICAGO, USA - Flanked by a magnificently illuminated Chicago skyline on one side and Lake Michigan on the other, tens of thousands of Barack Obama supporters gathered at Grant Park in his home city of Chicago Tuesday night to await the final results of the 2008 presidential race and Obama’s appearance later tonight.
The crowds arrived on packed public subways and suburban trains and patiently waded through the extensive security to get into the park. Several more without tickets simply hung around the outskirts of the park, eager to share in the festive atmosphere and to be present should history be made if and when the USA elects its first black president.
Chicago authorities have been gearing up for the event for the past few days. All Chicago police officers had their days off canceled Tuesday and off-duty firefighters had to take their helmets and kits with them until after the election in case of emergencies.
Mostly young, genial crowd
But here at Grant Park, the crowd seems to be a mostly young, genial lot. Most of them are from Illinois State. Obama, after all, is their senator and many of them have been invested in his campaign ever since he launched his presidential bid.
Some in the crowd brought their guitars and other musical instruments and they’re playing in and around the park. In many ways, the atmosphere here is not so much anticipatory as celebratory.
Giant screens across the park are broadcasting live TV coverage of the election results and each time CNN projects a state or declares a state for Obama, a giant roar rips through the crowd. The largest one so far went out shortly before 10PM Chicago time, when CNN projected that Obama will win Ohio, a key battleground state.
Minutes after the announcement, Cristy Smith-Crawford, a 37-year-old housewife and native Chicagoan was breathless with excitement. “Oh boy,” she exclaimed. “Ohio is a key battleground state. I’m pretty sure this race will go to Obama, he’s going to go all the way to the White House.”
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Date created : 2008-11-05