Monday, September 22, 2008

Sarah Palin Rally in The Villages, FL 09/21/08 - My Experiences

09/21/08 - We arrive at the parking area at The Villages at 7 a.m. to get in line for the Rally, which didn't start until 1:30, with Sarah Palin not expected to speak until 4:30.

The weather was nice and cool - a little foggy, which was nice for those of us who were the early birds and were lined up on the pavement at the entrance. The crowd didn't start getting very big until about 9 a.m., when the line we were in, began to wrap around the building we were in front of, and down the street.

Around 10:15 or so, a truck with metal detectors came, so we were told we had to move back until they had unloaded the truck and got everything in order. Many people were trying to crowd in at that time, to see what was going on, and to try to sneak into the line unnoticed. That didn't sit too well with everyone who had been there for hours holding their front of the line spots.

The woman who was in charge called over a Sumter Co. deputy and told him who all of us had been there all morning, and to let us go in first, after the volunteers and staff went in. As soon as he said, "Let's go", I ran up to the tables at the metal detector stands, where we had to take off our pins and such, then go through. I went through quick and easy, as I didn't take a bag or anything that they would have to search through. As soon as he said I was good to go, I RAN up to the area in front of the stage, and got Bill and I a front row - center spot! I couldn't believe that I was going to be standing right in front of Sarah as she spoke!

We were getting very crowded down in that area, and weren't able to leave to get food or water, because you couldn't get out, and you certainly couldn't get back in. That's when some of the officials and security began to hand out water bottles by the caseload. Several people where we were collapsed due to the extreme heat, and the EMT's had to climb over the guard rail in front of us to get to them for treatment.

We listened to some of our local and state candidates, then Aaron Tippen performed a few songs,and then FINALLY they announced, "Please welcome SARAH". The crowd began to absolutely roar, and I stood up on the railing to see if I could see her coming down the sidewalk yet. All I could see at first were the VERY tall Secret Service men lining the sidewalk. I caught a glimpse of her and Todd just before they were approaching the stage.

Piper, the youngest daughter, Willow, the second oldest daughter, Trig, the baby boy and Todd were all present. Willow was carrying Trig and held him for the first few minutes of introduction, then he was taken out of the heat while his mommy spoke to the crowd.

There was an electricity in the air that was almost touchable. Before Sarah began to speak, she said that her kids got to visit Disney the day before, and Piper wanted to say something. This little girl is NOT afraid to speak in public, and she confidently took the mike from her Mom and said, "Thank you for letting me be here today". The crowd cheered, and we could see that this little girl just might one day follow in her mommy's footsteps.

After giving an awesome speech, Sarah and the family made their way down the steps to autograph memorabilia and say hello to the crowd. I got my ticket ready, in case she stopped in front of me, so I could get an autograph.

Not only did she stop to autograph my ticket, but she saw my shirt that read, "ARMY MOM", and took my hands. I said, "Sarah - I'm praying for your boy". She gave my hands a squeeze and looked me right in the eyes and said, "And I will surely pray for yours too".
This is the back of my head - the one on the right with sunglasses, and that's my hand on her left arm as she was about to autograph my ticket.

She then proceeded to move down the line, then Piper was in front of me. I first asked her if she enjoyed Disney to which she said with a sparkle in her eye, "Yes ma'am, I sure did". I handed her my ticket, which she signed with her red Sharpie. Willow was next, who also signed my ticket, then Todd followed behind them. When he stopped in front of me, I told him that I'd just told Sarah that I was praying for their boy in Iraq, and he then too noticed my shirt and patted my left shoulder, and with a little squeeze, he said, "And Sarah and I will surely pray for yours too. Tell him Thank You and God Bless".

This was a day that Bill and I will never forget - a day for our grandchildren to know about - the first woman to be nominated in the Republican Party for the office of Vice President, and we got to hear her speak, and meet her face to face!

I was so incredibly blessed! Days before, when I knew we would be going to this event, I specifically prayed that the Lord would somehow allow me the opportunity to be able to tell Sarah that there was another Army MOM who was praying for her boy, and the Lord was so gracious to allow me that opportunity!

I pray your week is a great one!



Jennifer B. said...

Janelle, thats terrific!! I wish i had been able to go when she was in Denver!!!

Sharon Stevens said...

OMG lucky dog you!! Great pictures! You are right, Bill is tall :-)

Mary said...

Janelle, I could almost feel the excitement of being there just from your typed words, and I'm crying as I write this. What a historical place in time for you to be a part of. Can you imagine sharing this story and the photos with your grandchildren! I'm a big fan of Sarah's as well, and join her family in prayers for you, "Army Mom." You surely have my family's gratitude for your sacrifice.



Cookie said...

what great photos -
I tell ya, I could just love that lil Piper to pieces. What a ham for the cameras too! lol I think she is just precious as can be!!!

Lucky you!

~GoldieLoo Woodworks~ said...

Wow what an exciting day for yall ! Great pictures Janelle...maybe one day you can out them on ebay and get big bucks. ;) hehehehe.

fiddlestixstudios said...

What an exciting day you had,Janelle!Thanks for sharing your pics!It's so fun to see other's adventures!

Mike's America said...

I'm so glad you got to meet her and thank you for telling your story and also for sharing it with the readers at Flopping Aces.

cmyers said...

Janelle- How cool is that! Being of the generation of women that got "equal" time in sports and opportunities, its awesome that a woman I admire and respect is a Vice Presidential candidiate. Its incredible that someone I know has had personal contact with her. As the button says - You Go Girl!

Countryfolk Keepsakes said...

How exciting Janelle!! Great pics too!! This is history in the making and you were able to experience it first hand! How awesome is that?! :> )

jane-of-ark said...

Hi, Janelle,

Congrats on your EXCITING day!! Don't you LOVE making special memories!! Blesssings 2 U~Jane