Election Night – Grant Park

Election Night 2008 found MSInteractive's Bruce Beal, a Chicago resident, right in the middle of all the action at Grant Park. I asked Bruce to share what the experience was like and this is what he said:

"You may have heard that we Chicagoans refer to our city’s
Grant Park as 'the city’s front 
yard.'  Usually we say this because
that’s where the formal gardens, big foundation, and museums are located. 
It's where many of our public festivals are held, including our famous Chicago
Jazz Festival and The Taste of Chicago.  The phrase took on new meaning
for us last week though, as Grant Park played host the a massive graduation
ceremony of sorts, as Illinois' junior U.S. Senator made his acceptance speech in
front of a crowd of 250,000+ very proud 'neighbors.'  I was there, with
my wife and several friends, soaking up that unique moment in history.

Also, you may or may not know that Chicago is nicknamed 'The
Windy City' because of the way we like to brag on our city.  Well, that
night in Grant Park, I have near seen my city any more proud or any more
grand.  It was our usual diverse Chicago crowd, young and old, rich and
poor, the well-known and unknown, all huddling together to hear one of our own make the biggest speech of his life.  There were people using walkers and wheelchairs and
babes riding on their parents’ shoulders.  There were the native-born and
Chicagoans whose lives literally began all over the world, in places as
distant as Russia, China, Pakistan, or South America.  Just for a moment
that evening, all of the struggles to get 'here,' and all of the strains
and friction of our great city, faded away under the joy of one of our city’s
finest being elevated in an election to the nation’s highest office. 
Regardless of one's political affiliation, president-elect Obama represents a lot of things to a lot of people – but
to the Chicagoans gathered that night in Grant Park, it was more celebrating how a
family from the old neighborhood had worked hard and made good.  That’s
why I tell people it felt like I was at a picnic – with 250,000 of my closest