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We had to get up early for a Kentucky Delegation breakfast and commemorative photo session. It was fun to see everyone even though it was so early! We realized that this would be the last time we'd all be together. There was another luncheon today and then the last convention session with John McCain's speech!
The luncheon was held a block from the hotel and nearly the whole delegation attended. Elaine Chao was the primary speaker. She's very articulate and well spoken. She made her case for us to support her husband, Mitch McConnell in his re-election. We then heard from a Republican strategist who just happened to have come from Cindy McCain's office. He was helping her work on the address for this evening. He told us that Cindy has never given a formally prepared speech before tonight! She has always spoken without notes, so this would be a new experience for her. He then took questions from the delegation. His commentary was amazingly insightful. He stressed that as of right now (not knowing the impact of Sarah Palin) the election was neck and neck. Kentucky Senate President David Williams gave the closing comments. He was funny, serious and thoughtful as always. He made the point that he knew we were all energized by what we had experienced; now it was our task to take that energy back to the Commonwealth in support of our candidates. The luncheon ended and after 30 minutes of socializing we all walked back to prepare for the evenings' events.
The bus ride to the Xcel Center was thankfully uneventful. The security was noticeably increased over previous days. We followed the standard route. Upon arrival we went to the various booths to get political buttons, shirts and assorted paraphernalia. Afterward, Lynn and I walked around the hall to do our final exploration. I guess we weren't walking fast enough because we were nearly run over by Henry Kissenger and his contingent! I'd seen him around in the previous sessions but not this close. He moves pretty well for his age!
The hall was packed, especially with news media. Sitting around us were many foreign folks, Polish, Colombian, Australian and others. We tend to forget that the eyes of the world watch our every move and what we do and say has impact the world over. We passed on the offer to go to the floor tonight. Our seats were fine and we had a close up view from where we sat. We were both a bit worn out by the previous days' activities and I sensed that the crowd felt the same.
The early speakers tonight delivered their messages in support of John McCain, some better than others but I thought that none of them measured up to the previous nights' line-up of Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani. The filmed presentations which featured John McCain's life journey were very moving and insightful. There were so many things about him that I did not know previously. Then it was Cindy McCains' turn at the podium and she delivered a very compelling tribute and biography of her husband. Everyone was touched by her charm, poise and down to earth presence. She really grabbed the audience.
When John McCain appeared on the stage the excitement level went through the roof! We were back to the emotional high where Sarah Palin took us the night before. John laid out in broad strokes the intent of his candidacy...reform of politics and of Washington, a shift from "what's in it for me to service of country." He struck a very big chord with the audience. For me personally, when he declared that we must support the emerging democracies such as the Republic of Georgia, I had to wipe away some tears. My daughter Kate spent 3 months in Georgia on an agricultural project. Through her, I had gotten to know of the friends she made. She came home only 2 weeks before the Russians invaded! We tend to forget that we are truly the world's beacon of democracy and freedom.
There were a couple of attempts to disrupt the speech by the group Code Pink. The crowd immediately chanted, "USA, USA" to disrupt the disruption! John McCain ended his speech with a plea for service and real change to the Washington political culture. The crowd responded with wild appreciation. The ending was perfect!!
Then there was the balloon drop, which was more fun than I imagined. We were all exhausted. It took us quite awhile to marshall the strength for the journey back to the hotel. We had a final reception for the Kentucky Delegation. Time for some food, fun and good conversation about the weeks' events. In the wee hours of the morning we made our way to the room to get some rest before the journey back to the Bluegrass. Lynn and I were happy for our adventure, but homesick for our bit of paradise.
We are honored and grateful that we had the chance to participate in such an important part of our political process. I'm glad to be able to share it with you. We're proud to be able to represent the conservative values of home, family and service to our country...the values of Spencer County.