The rally at The Villages on Sunday, the 21st of September was unlike anything I have ever experienced. As I said last evening, we arrived on Main St. to get in line for the secure area (just in front of the stage and behind the stage) about 9 a.m. We waited in that line for about 3 hours, and during that time met some wonderful people. I was amazed at the diversity of the crowd. In front of us were a large group of University of Florida students, all with handmade signs in support of Palin-and boy, were they an enthusiastic group! Just behind us were several mother/daughter pairs, some older, some younger. I met single girls that had come alone, I met elderly couples and families, Democrats that will be voting Republican for the first time in their lives, Republicans and Independents! I was so encouraged with what I saw! If you want to be energized like you never have been for your party, I encourage you to attend an event such as this! We got into the secure area around 12:00 p.m. and stood in the sweltering heat for another 4 1/2 hours. We were very blessed to be among the first people in the gates, securing a spot just behind the barriers where we would later see Sarah. During our wait we heard from several state and local politicians, Aaron Tippin sang a few tunes, and finally Governor Palin and her family arrived. My first impression of Sarah was this: she is a strikingly gorgeous woman. I thought she was pretty before, but in person she is even more beautiful-the pictures do not do her justice. She first said her hello’s and then handed a microphone to her daughter Piper who was as adorable as ever and thanked the crowd for a fun visit to FL! (they had been to Disney on Saturday) Sarah then recognized all military personnel, both past and present, and gave a wonderful speech which I am sure many of you got to see on the news. The crowd, estimated to be between 60,000 and 70,000 people (by the way, there were approximately 2,500 people at Biden's event in Jacksonville), was energetic and constantly chanted Sa-rah! Sa-rah! It was a blast! After her speech, she exited the stage right in front of us and began shaking hands and giving autographs. Although we got to shake her hand and get two hats autographed, we never got to speak to her. The crowd began going crazy when they realized she was giving autographs, and we were getting crushed...so my hubby grabbed me and our daughter and we elbowed our way out!
Overall, it was a wonderful experience and we'd do it again in a heartbeat. I am more convinced than ever that John McCain made a very wise choice in Sarah Palin and that she is most certainly going to shake things up in Washington! I have seen, on other websites, the crowd in FL being made fun of for standing so long in the heat waiting for Sarah and for chanting her name. As for chanting her name, I guess those people have never been to a political rally. We were all about to pass out from the heat and we began chanting her name to let them know we wanted to see HER! The campaign graciously gave out water as fast as they could, and it seemed that they got her there as quickly as they could. As for the long wait, I can only speak for myself when I say that our family wanted to hear Sarah speak because she stands for everything we believe in. We wanted to be a part of what will be a historical event when she becomes the first female VP of the United States. She is about as genuine as it gets, and we were thrilled that we, along with our 9 year old daughter, got to be some small part of this memorable occasion.
**As a side note, I read on News Busters where CNN again criticized Palin for using a teleprompter during her speech at the Villages. I don't know where they get off criticizing anyone for using a teleprompter in front of 60,000 people, however, I was about 10 feet from her, and I can tell you this: I don't know where CNN was sitting, but from where I was standing there was no teleprompter usage!!! She had her notes, and she used those! There were teleprompters, but many of us commented that if she was using them, it sure wasn't noticeable to anyone close by! Just thought you'd be interested to hear that from someone who WAS right there and payed attention.