Grant Park on election night
That was the night when everything changed, and every American knows what happened there. Someday, it will be like Woodstock. A seminal moment that will ever be the answer to the question, were you there? And it was like the greatest rock concert ever, with T-shirt vendors popping up all over the place selling gloriously unofficial celebrations. But even the vendors were caught in the moment—there for a buck, sure, but for much more. At the corner of Congress and Michigan, 10pm, the crowd roars, folks start running across in the street toward the park in huge joyous masses. Something happened. Did he win? One fellow selling t-shirts begs a passerby to tell him if it was true. “Yes,” a mobile connection to CNN confirmed it. “But it’s not official; is it official?” as if it was too good to be true. Over and over he asked with a rising mixture of joy and yearning in his voice, even when assured it was true, saying that, “IF it was true, we could finally all be a nation as one.” And yes, we were there.
Best of Chicago 2008