Some things are worth waiting for … especially when you’re waiting for some of the best seats in the house to see the President of the United States of America! As you can see from these photos, we had a great vantage as President Obama made his post-State of the Union swing through Pittsburgh. It was an incredible honor … and huge surprise. This was my first official visit to a presidential event. I may never get it again. Some of us will never get it. You can read all about what the President said from the media clips. So I thought I’d share a bit of the behind-the-scenes actions, like … I received an invitation and had less than 24 hours to prepare. I was told how to dress. (That can actually be helpful sometimes!) Maybe he travels with the TSA, because like the airport, we walked through the metal detector and had batons waved around our bodies to ensure we weren’t a threat (although about the only thing we food bank people carry is canned good!) as security searched all our personal belongings. It was a mistake to try to take my water in with me. They took it from me. You weren’t alone. There were lots of people there --- including the “invited guests” who were just standing around in nice suits and wearing earpieces. There were other “guests” with some high-powered tools. And we waited … with thousands of others, packed into a zoned area inside a huge warehouse with cement floors, freezing, for hours. Does it sound like I’m complaining? I’m not. It was among the greatest experiences I’ve ever had (minus some of the music selections played for the waiting crowd). There will be plenty of time for debating policy. But having this honor to see the President speak was reminder of the great responsibility that comes with our nation’s highest office and one of the most important positions in the world. Some are critical of his work; some support it. But everyone should respect it. I do, and I’ll never forget the day that I was almost arm’s length from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
- Written by Sheila Christopher, Executive Director of Hunger-Free PA