The stadium speech
(AP Photo/Rodolfo Gonzalez - Rocky Mountain News)
By JOHN K. HARTMAN
Sun Special Correspondent
DENVER-- The first bus to Invesco Field at Mile High, the scene of Barack Obama's acceptance speech, was full and crowded. At 1:30 we left the holels in Broomfield. We arrived 45 minutes later at the stadium parking to summer heat and long lines. It took an hour to get through security and nearly two hours start to finish to find a seat 10 rows in front of the giant scoreboard in the south end zone of the football stadium.
The crowd was building and I wondered if Obama could fill the 76,000 seat stadium. It turned out yes and no. Because thousands were seated on the field, the crowd was estimated at 85,000, but there were several thousand seats empty in the stands. None around me.
(AP Photo/The Rocky Mountain News, Darin McGregor)
The names of Denver Bronco greats are posted around the stadium. It reminded me of taking my father, the late Harvey H. Hartman, a big Bronco fan and a longtime Colorado resident, to the last game in the old Mile High Stadium. It was nearly a decade ago. As my father taught me to treat all persons equally and to be rid of all manner of prejudices, I felt he would be proud that this event featuring the first black major party presidential nominee was being held in Denver and that I was in attendance.
Obama continued to cater to the young by inviting folks to text message their names and states and had a competition to see which state had the most hits. It also gathered a list of supporters and attendees for future campaign purposes.
Obama's catch phrase "yes, we can," seemed to be an evolved version of Black civil right leader Jesse Jackson's "I am somebody."
(AP Photo/The Rocky Mountain News, Barry Guiterrez)
Sheryl Crow got the crowd rocking singing about change, winding roads and sunny days. Many folks sang along.
www.BarackObama.com was plastered throughout the stadium. I guess if one is planning to run for president some day, it would be wise to reserve one's name as a domain name.
(AP Photo/Preston Gannaway/Rocky Mountain News)
I tuned to NPR for a while. One radio reporter found it interesting that attendees were eating stadium food like nachos and hot dogs. Another commented on the beautiful sunset on the perfectly clear day in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. An third praised the Democrats for magnificent stagecraft, a la a football bowl game. A black woman told a reporter the Obama would be a good role model for black children. I think that is why Oprah Winfrey risked her fame endorsing Obama. She believed it would be good for the black community from a sociological perspective.
(AP Photo/Cyrus McCrimmon - The Denver Post)
Somewhere, up there, Harvey H. Hartman is smiling.
(John C. Hartman is a Central Michigan University journalism professor who is blogging about the Democratic National Convention for the Morning Sun.)
(Editor's note: Hartman sent this early Friday, but technical difficulties prevented us from posting it until Sunday. Jack made his deadline.)