Mitt Romney in Manassas
I woke up this morning to find out that we were going on a surprise trip to Manassas to visit our friends - The Richardsons. They had recently moved there for Leah's internship, and Matthew still commutes to DC via VRE. It had been a few months since we they had moved, so I thought it was nice that Aaron wanted to visit. Only after I started getting ready did I find out there was an ulterior motive - we were actually going to see Mitt Romney and his freshly picked VP, Paul Ryan. Typical Aaron.
The drive was not too bad, but the heat was. We drove into Old Town Manassas, parked at a Presbyterian Church, and walked across the street to their house. They were so kind to have lunch waiting for us. Matthew had not told Leah that we were going to the Romney event, and since Leah had not bothered to look outside her window where the long lines had already been forming all morning, she had no clue. We enjoyed some catching up, cleaning up, and got ready to head out. Leah's expression was priceless when she realized we would be seeing Romney very soon, and all the thousands of people that descended upon her doorstep were just as excited!
The lines had swelled and grown exponentially long, and we walked around several blocks to find the end of the line to join in, only to find ourselves back where we started as the line was curving in and out of each block. I had enough, and not being a huge fan of standing in lines, I told them I was taking of to find a spot where I could cut in line. Aaron and a friend followed me quickly, however, Matt and Leah stayed back in their spot. I walked over to a bench about halfway from the beginning of the line, pretended to adjust my camera bag, and then strolled into the gap in the line and kept walking. No one said anything and both Aaron and Terry were stunned how I managed to pull this off so effortlessly. There were, easily, a thousand more people behind us. I guess it comes from being born and raised in India :)
The sweltering heat, the tiny area the Romney team had selected to host this event, the thousands of people, children, veterans, the Secret Service, the snipers on the roof, the volunteers, the big Romney bus, the staff, the political bigwigs, and the heat, in case I failed to mention it before - all of this ensured that this might be my first and last political rally. I might attend the inauguration should Romney win, but I was done attending pep rallies.
The event started and a slew of speakers came up to the podium. I managed to find a spot that was not too far from the podium and with the use of my telephoto lens captured some great shots, if I could say so myself. I was hot, sweaty, flustered because a woman in a wife-beater with beads hanging around her neck had her armpits above my head as she also strained to take pictures with her little point and shoot camera. She was literally on my back and using my camera bag as her support so she would fall flat on me. Geez!
Finally, Paul Ryan arrived to speak, and basically repeated the same speech he gave just yesterday morning when Mitt made the announcement. You can imagine my mood ;) But, it was great to see him in person and feel his energy and passion. When Mitt Romney came out, you could tell that the people loved him, and had made the sacrifice to come out and support him. I may never have the chance to see a presidential nominee this close, and partake in an age-old tradition of political campaigning. America is an incredible country and I was proud to be a part of it.
Due to my proximity, I was able to take some photos of this event. Here they are for you to enjoy as well ;) without having to stand four hours in the heat, and deal with sweaty ladies hanging over you.
Aaron loved every minute of it, and that was worth it. We ran into the Parks -friends/neighbors of ours. Isn't Millie just adorable in her little striped dress?