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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Where Were You When the Election was Called?

    Yesterday’s election and last night’s announcement of the results are events that we will talk about for generations to come. The moment they announced Barack Obama as our next president is a moment that will be carved in our history. I know one day that my grandchildren will ask me about it. For me, the night began with a barrage of thoughts running through my head.

    As I got ready to go an election party hosted by the Suffolk County Democrats, the first state was called — Kentucky — with John McCain as the winner. Immediately I began to worry that all of my hard work for Senator Obama’s campaign would not pay off. Could McCain win this thing after all? Like millions of Americans, I began the night glued to the TV screen, however, I did not stay at home watching it on my couch, but instead I attended the election party, which was held at the Islandia Marriott.

    I had never attended a Democratic election party, so for me this was very exciting. Hundreds of people were gathered here to wait for the election results. The party room was equipped with two large computer screens where the results were posted and updated. Another large screen posted CNN and the presidential election results.

    Crowds of people were gathered around the screens. Immediately, it seemed clear that the Democrats did not have too much to worry about — with Brian Foley, Tim Bishop, Steve Ukeiley, and the other Democratic candidates ahead of their opponents.

    Each time one of the local races were flashed on the screen, the crowds erupted in spontaneous cheers.

    After the local election results were called, the newly elected and re-elected officials were escorted into the room by a marching band of bagpipers. The bagpipers are a Suffolk County tradition, and they just added to the surreal and frenzied chaos of the night. The officials were introduced by Rich Shafer, the chairman of the Suffolk County Democratic Committee. Many of them spoke, thanking us for all of our support and help on their campaign.

    Their speeches, however, were shortened when a deafening roar came up from the crowd, which had nothing to do with the local officials. The huge screen displaying the presidential results had just announced that Obama was the projected winner of the presidential election. After Obama had won Virginia with 51 percent to 49 percent, CNN declared Obama the winner.

    The emotions quickly rose as tears and cheers were seen and heard throughout the room. I felt as if it was one of those moments, like on New Years Eve 1999, or when you get back from a long trip and you just want to see your parents and give them a big hug. Everyone was filled with this type excitement and emotion, and I’m sure many of you were as well.

    The crowd settled down slightly, only to become excited again when McCain gave his speech. No one really expected it to be over so quickly. But when Obama spoke, the room fell deafeningly quiet, as people hung on every word. It was amazing. This election day will be historical. As the cheers were overwhelming me, I was struck by how important this exact moment was in our history. We as Americans were reminded that we live in a country where the strength of your convictions and the content of your character far outweigh whatever pedigree you may have.

    I feel like this should always be a day for you to remember and to share with your children and grandchildren one day. Whether you voted for Barack Obama or not, you agree with his ideologies or not, this was a historic night, and I hope you feel as proud as I do.

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