The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

"I Was There!" - Grant Park

by Cassidy Bell,

Loyola University, Chicago

November 4, 2008 will forever be remembered as a night that history was made.

After months and months of campaigning, commercials and phone calls, the work was finally coming to an end.

In all the excitement, businesses across the country were giving away free treats to reward voters.

If free food doesn't get college students out to the polls I'm not sure what can.

My friends and I, of course, were excited about the free goodies so after collecting our free Starbucks coffee and Ben & Jerry's ice cream we made our way down to Michigan Ave to await the closing of the polls.

Makeshift street vendors were noticeable at every intersection selling mementos from this historic election.

The energy of the crowd was palpable as we all settled in for what we expected would be a long night.

However, we were surprised to find that the results seemed to be showing that Obama had an obvious edge, even early in the evening. The win was clear by around ten and we were back on campus by midnight, giving us no excuse to miss our morning classes on Wednesday.

Listening to Obama's speech was incredible. In fact, listening to John McCain's speech was incredible as well.

The crowd was strangely subdued and listened respectfully to all Senator McCain had to say.

His words were touching and sincere, but there was a lot of anxious anticipation in the air while waiting for Barack. He appeared on the stage and the crowd erupted in applause, but again was intent on listening to every word he uttered.

Afterwards, as the masses returned home, silence seemed to envelope us. Everyone was in awe of the results and seemed to be in their own worlds.

The subway was more crowded that night than I have ever seen it and there were many delays, but it was all endured with smiles and goodwill. Every time I would look up there was someone to make eye contact with and share a smile. It was the first time in a long time that so many people in the same place were proud to be Americans.

This is a great country we live in and we have a great future ahead of us.

(Cassidy is the daughter of Brian and Julie Bell of Oquawka)