Why I Stood in 100 Degree Weather to See President Obama for my Daughter Heather Hopson July 6, 2012 Uncategorized Dear Diary, As usual, I’m late! My daughter’s dad lived near Washington, D.C., and I took the trip to our nation’s capital (pre-pregnancy) for the presidential inauguration. Due to his work schedule and the freezing temperatures, we skipped the ceremony. We watched the first African-American president swear in on television then jumped on the subway to try to catch the last bit of the history making activities. We visited the Newseum and an exhibit with front pages of newspapers around the world, which all captured this day in history. I didn’t mind missing the actual ceremony, especially since I most likely would have seen the tops of people’s heads and not the leader of the free world. Besides, I lived in the Cayman Islands, which means I did not bring a hat, gloves, scarf and boots! Fast forward almost four years… This week, I found out the President’s “Betting on America” bus tour was rolling into Pittsburgh. I contacted a fellow journalist at the Post-Gazette and got the 411 on how I could be a part of the rally. I rushed out the office and picked up the hot ticket for what would later be a hot day in the city. Originally, I asked my father to come along. (Note: My dad lived through the pre-Civil Rights era and never put much faith in our government. However, he showed up at the polls on election day and cast his vote for Obama.) Since it was a scolding 100 degrees, he decided to sit this event out. I agreed with his decision. Nonetheless, I decided to go during my lunch break. My friend dropped my off at Carnegie Mellon’s campus, and I stood in a long line. I looked up and spotted my uncle, who’s a cameraman for CBS. He was shooting a story on the heat and caught me on tape fanning myself with my tickets and bumming two bucks off of him for water. (The no bag rule apparently didn’t include purses as I later learned!) Once past the security check-point, I headed inside, makeup melted. Before I made my way to the stage, I noticed some spectators wouldn’t make it to the speech. They filled the seats in the first-aid tent and received treatment for heat exhaustion. Paramedics loaded a few others on stretchers. An ambulance siren blared from the street and pulled up moments later to whisk them to the hospital. The President’s arrival was still an hour away! I decided to pop a squat under a tree, where I met an expecting mom and told her about my blog and an 86-year-old woman who stood up the entire time, even after offers to sit in the shade. I didn’t complain about the heat. Neither did she. Actually, the shade stopped the sweat. I read my newspaper and waited patiently. Patience…now that’s something I have a lot of this election year! Finally, the crowd cheered, and Barack Obama took to the stage. In the first portion of his speech he said, “When I stepped foot on this college campus, I thought about my single mom, who stressed the importance of my education.” He went on to say something about his father leaving him at a young age. And I thought to myself, wow, his schooling made him first a senator not a statistic. His words gave me hope for my daughter’s future—a future I worried about when her father and I ended our relationship before she was born. Although he is an active part of her life, I wondered her co-parenting under two roofs would impact her upbringing. But if Barack Obama became president on his single mother’s watch, the sky is the limit for my daughter! So, I stood outside in the hot, sticky weather, not to see President Obama for myself, but to take this picture for my daughter. One day when I help her with her homework, I’ll tell her that she can be ANYTHING she wants to be and actually mean it! Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.