Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

The President Does NE Seattle

on October 22, 2010
Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

Image via Wikipedia

So, something unexpected happened on Thursday.  Wednesday night, prior to school letting out, a series of no parking signs appeared on the side of the road.  I didn’t think much of it at the time.  That night, I saw on the Wedgwood View Blog that President Obama might be visiting the neighborhood.  I knew he was in town for a big rally at the University of Washington in support of Sen. Patty Murray. Later on, I heard that he would be hosting a “backyard chat” in a home about eight blocks from our school, and the main road into that neighborhood passed right out front. I was going to see the motorcade!

The school was buzzing about the visit all morning.  It turns out that President Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, actually attended my school when she lived nearby, so we thought it would be fitting that he pass by. Someone had made a big sign stating, “Thank you Mr. President!” and hung it in the library windows.  We weren’t sure when he’d pass, but we knew he was due at the UW around 11am, so it had to be around 9:30.

Nothing happened during first period.  Second period came and my students went off to their various classes.  I had one student with me who was new today, and we were going on a tour of the school when I saw that some of the gym classes were hanging out in front of the building, waiting. We went to join them as several of my students were out there.  Before long, the crowd was growing, joined by the entire administration!  The teachers kept the kids out of the street as they were so excited they weren’t paying attention to where they were!

Finally, around 9:45, the police shut down the traffic coming up our street and diverted the traffic going to opposite direction.  Two Secret Service vehicles drove by, one stopped and told us to keep the kids back off the sidewalk.  We knew we were getting close.

Then it happened.  My school sits at the top of a hill.  To our west, is a small valley followed by another hill.  A few lights crested the top of the far hill and all the kids started screaming!  The rest of the motorcade appeared and we could see just how big it was.  Dozens of police motorcycles led the way, followed by another couple of Secret Service Suburbans. Then, two odd looking limousines came next, and in the back seat of the second one was a smiling, waving President of the United States! The kids were absolutely crazy, and I have to say, most of the teachers were pretty excited too.

The rest of the motorcade passed on, and the school filed back into the building.  I saw everyone smiling and even a couple teachers wiping tears from their eyes.  No matter your political views, seeing the president is something special and will likely be something that these kids (and I) will remember for a long time.

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