Saturday, September 6, 2008

Day Four

Congressman Zach Wamp hosted the delegation for lunch at the Mall of America on Thursday. The guest speaker was our former senator, Fred Thompson.

We enjoyed visiting with the Callahans from Knoxville. In this picture we are watching as Fred Thompson arrives.Senator Thompson gave an inspiring talk, rallying the Tennessee delegates for the upcoming state elections. After lunch, Anna and I did some more window shopping. I really enjoyed visiting this store, a holiday store. There was a really neat Christmas village display.It was so strange to cross the Mississippi River so far north. The scenery was beautiful. I was surprised to see so many trees. They were shorter than ours at home and there were many different types of conifer trees that we don't have. I guess I was expecting Minnesota to be all prairie - flat and plain.We arrived at the convention early enough to tour the Fox News tent. Security was understandably high.Inside, we were amazed to see all the activity as the crews worked to produce the shows.We recognized anchor Chris Wallace. It was fun to see the different news personalities throughout the week. I stood behind Shepard Smith once while he was on air, but I think I was too short to be seen.The Alaska delegation shared our hotel. They were easy to spot on the convention floor with their hard hats and construction vests that said "Drill here, drill now". We enjoyed our shared breakfast meetings with them. They were so pleased that it was their governer picked for VP! They said that they have felt distanced from the other states, or "the lower states", as they referred to the continental 48.An honor guard from Fort Snelling presented the colors to begin the final night of the convention. The stage had been redesigned for McCain's speech. He wanted to be in the middle of the crowd, to create more of the "town hall meeting" style that he has used on the campaign trail.The pledge was led by eight former Olympic gold medalists. Mrs. McCain introduced their seven children before she gave her speech.Sam Brownback, senator from Kansas, was one of the speakers, as well as our former senator and Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist.McCain approaches the podium......and the crowd goes wild!His speech was inspiring. He addressed all the important issues, defined his plans for when he is elected, promised to veto the first bill with earmarks that crosses his desk (and all the ones that follow), and outlined his priorities as President.The crowd's reaction was enthusiastic!Mrs. Cindy McCain, the McCain children, and the Palins joined him at the close of his speech.The party begins!

First, red, white and blue ticker tape.

Then, the traditional balloon drop. This year there were more than 150,000 balloons, the most ever dropped.Shiny gold streamers...
... and more balloons!
Digital fireworks......and more balloons!
Being at the convention was an incredible experience for Anna and me! We were so glad that the party platform stayed true to the Republican ideals, and is maybe even more "Republican" than it was before. We met many sweet people from many different states, and made many friends among our delegation. I am looking forward to next time! Until then, though, there are races to be won...