[LOTS OF UPDATES! Read on, and then see the next post for a discussion of crowd size, and this one for some pics, as well as today's post about another media falsehood about Cedarburg.]
We tried, anyway, and even though we didn't make it into the rally itself, it was worth every minute to be part of something so big and so exciting!
The two youngest and I drove almost an hour to get to Cedarburg. We parked ($10, if you please) and started walking toward the downtown area.
As we neared, we saw the edges of a huge crowd and then realized we had to find the end of the line to walk through the metal detectors.
We walked for blocks and blocks trying to try to find the end of the line, yet as far as we walked, we could only see blocks of people stretching before us. The line curved all the way around the downtown Cedarburg area; it was easily over half a mile long but I couldn't see the end, so who knows? Could have been a mile.
I heard someone say that they were expecting up to 8,000 people, but there had to be at least 12,000. [UPDATE: This local news report says the crowd was estimated to be 20,000 - 30,000!]
So, realizing that it was futile to stand in line, we decided to walk back toward the center of town and just hang around to see what we could. Turns out we were right on the street where the motorcade was going to pass. The kids had front-row standing spots and we got to see the motorcycles and squads and finally the two big campaign busses.
The crowd was happy, pumped up, and very orderly (of course, we're Republicans!) There was a handful of protestors, the usual college-age, purple- and red-dyed hair variety, with signs saying "Funds for education, not occupation" (occupation?!? that's so-five-years-ago), some anti-Bush signs (uh, hello, he's not actually, like, running?!), and so on. But they were peaceful, and well-behaved; I explained to my kids that this, too, is part of our form of government and it's all good.
The winners today:
- McCain and Palin, obviously, who must have been delighted with such a huge turnout;
- The thousands of people who got a chance to be a part of something so exciting;
- The handful of protestors, who were treated respectfully (though mostly ignored) and who were able to peacefully exercise their freedom of speech and assembly;
- The t-shirt and bumper sticker vendors;
- The coffee shops in downtown Cedarburg;
- The people at Economy Glass who charged $10 per car for parking (and the lot had hundreds of cars);
- The numerous homeschool families who got a great civics field trip from the morning's events.
The losers? There weren't any. Not even the hundreds of us who had to walk away as we heard the crowd cheering wildly behind us. Not even those who drove from as far away as Madison and Illinois to be there, even if they couldn't get close to the stage.
We know that we're fired up, that something really great could happen here, and that an election that we are supposed to lose might just go our way.
So no losers today. Just winners.
(Note: I'll post some video and pics soon, after we finish our homeschooling for today.)
UPDATE: Welcome, Anchoress readers! And thanks, Anchoress, for the link; I'm honored to have an Anchoress-lanche.
UPDATE 2: Welcome, Althouse readers! Thank you, Ann Althouse, for the link. Another honor today.