Man shows his American pride
Obama Election Night, Street Party
Grant Park Victory Celebration
I watched Obama’s acceptance speech while sitting on the couch with my girlfriend in my old house just a few blocks from where Barack went to high school in Hawaii. No one else was home and is was very quiet, but I remember feeling like something monumental was happening. I could look west out of my living room window and see the low rooftops and serene grassy ridge, and despite the tranquil setting, I knew that my hometown of NYC was celebrating this major milestone like we’d just won WWII. I felt very connected to it even though I was 5,000 miles away.
I was watching the results in a bar with a few friends. State by blue state, the energy and anticipation rose; however, there were so many people around it was easy to find yourself completely surrounded by strangers. When the networks finally called for Obama, everyone leaped up, cried, and embraced their neighbors whether they were strangers or not. Was it real? Was it really happening? The crowds poured out into the streets, high fiving and shouting victory. Cars honked their horns while people surfed their roofs. Tears of relief. I remember thinking that this is what it would be like if America truly cared about soccer and we won the World Cup. Times 10.
November 4 was no doubt an amazing evening, but the best memory I have is waking up on November 5 and walking to the subway and feeling the sense of pride, excitement and joy that just permeated the air. People were just so happy. It truly felt like a new day, and I felt like slapping high fives with everyone that I passed.
My mom was in the hospital at the time, so my dad, sister, and I threw an election results watch party in the ICU lounge. We had streamers, balloons, noise makers, and cake. When Obama’s victory was announced, the entire 4th floor was cheering and celebrating. It was beautiful.
Marching to the WI state capitol building
I was in my dorm at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, watching returns in one of the student lounges with about 20 other residents. We were watching the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert coverage on Comedy Central when Stewart announced, “At 11 pm, eastern time, the President of the United States is Barack Obama.” We all screamed and hugged and then turned on CNN for confirmation. We were making so much noise that our RA had to remind us that it was “quiet hours” and sent us outside if we wanted to yell. We quieted down enough to watch his acceptance speech, then went outside. As we ran around outside, hugging perfect strangers, we noticed a group of people heading in one direction. We followed them, and ended up at the center of campus with an enormous group of people. We marched together from campus to the state capitol building, cheering and hugging and chanting “Yes We Can”; by the time we got there we had about 1500 supporters marching. We stood on the steps of the WI state capitol building and sang the national anthem. When I got back to my room, it was 1 in the morning. As I lay in bed trying to sleep, I was still trying to wrap my head around it; I kept whispering, “Oh, my God, President Barack Obama” and I started crying. I couldn’t believe it was real. It was one of the proudest, most incredible experiences I’ve ever had.
I was driving to my mother’s house in Queens NY, on the New Jersey Turnpike from doing Voter Protection for the Democratic Party in Philadelphia PA when I heard on the radio that the election had been called for President Obama. I felt tears come to my eyes. When I arrived at my moms house to pick up my kids, they were watching the news and everyone was glued to the TV, especially the children ages, 5, 10 and 18. My mother said over and over again, I never thought I’d see anything like this in my lifetime. I felt the same way. We are African American. I use to tell my kids they could grow up to be President of the United States, but I never really believed it. After that night, I did.
I spent almost the entire day doing GOTV and then I went and watched election returns with my college’s non-partisan political science organization. Obama won and I was thrilled! The real memory was when I came home though. I went into my bedroom and my mom was sitting on the couch watching the coverage with tears in her eyes. She began telling me how she never thought this day would come because she had lived through the 60s complete with race riots. She told me how proud she was of me for taking a stand in the election (which she would support either way).
I was with a group of folks at the Cherry Hill Democratic Headquarters. We were watching as the results came in. As the night wore on it became clearer and clearer that our Mr. Obama was about to be our next President. On that night and to this day, when I think about the magnitude of that election, I am overwhelmed.
Not only were we all ecstatic that our candidate was ahead, but also relieved that it was such a clear victory!
It was my 28th birthday and I gathered some friends at a bar in New York. I had canvassed in different states for months, did telecanvassing, and wished on my birthday candle for Obama to win. I spent the day unable to breathe, not letting myself think about any other possibility. But still, when the moment came, and the projector screen in the bar changed to “Barack Obama Elected President,” it was the most unbelievable, hopeful, wonderful feeling. It felt like in an instant, the world had changed. Everyone in the bar was crying, hugging, texting. When we left the bar, we could hear cheering for blocks around, and Union Square was full of euphoric people hugging each other - strangers especially! As you walked down the street, and even in the subway, you could hear random chanting of “Obama! Obama!” everywhere all night. It was like New Year’s Eve, but with purpose! Best birthday I ever had.
I was going a High School Term Abroad program in Warwickshire, England. There were ten of us living in a barn with 3 faculty members and we all stayed up the whole night to watch. I’d been campaigning for Obama before I left for England, so I was on edge. We stayed up the whole night to watch Obama speak, and even as I was falling asleep at an obscene hour, I was still receiving phone calls from excited family members!
I was at my boyfriend’s apartment in the Lower East Side, New York. I remember his roommate was liveblogging while we all passed around a bottle of champagne. I could barely speak. My boyfriend, who is ordinarily pretty chatty, was mute the whole time.
We ventured out to celebrate having apparently chosen the winning horse for once. A billiards hall in Portland, Oregon, is a great place to feel the glow of hopeful liberals after years of muttering “impeach my Bush” on rainy street corners.
It was my 27th birthday and I had spent the whole day poll watching in Philadelphia for the Obama campaign. When the victory was announced, the whole city was elated… people were dancing in the streets. I cried for the beauty of the moment and the potential of the future.
Flying home from a trip to Amsterdam, where I had seen Obama signs everywhere, in coffee shops, on houseboat windows, plastered on the free bikes. I had absentee balloted. Arriving at JFK, I actually joked with the customs officer that I wasn’t coming back in the country unless Obama was ahead. He laughed and welcomed me to a new America!
My wife was 7 months pregnant with our second child. She and my son were asleep upstairs and I watched CNN until the result was official. I burst into tears. I had not cried in as long as I can remember and have not since.
President Goldbama taken in Grant Park, President Obama was there that night too.
Spontaneous drumming and dancing in celebration of Obama’s victory.
Barack’s Brooklyn Block Party —- We Barack’d the Block at Moe’s Bar in Fort Greene, Brooklyn on election night. Go Brooklyn for Barack!
I was serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t have a cell phone. I couldn’t find a television channel that broadcast anything remotely relating to the election. I’m probably one of the few who can say I didn’t know Obama was elected until a solid 24 hours after the fact. I remember asking a coworker if they knew who won, and hearing the response, “Well, Obama won in his states and McCain won in his states.
I was in Washington DC watching a TV in my apartment with a group of friends. Tom Brokaw announced that Obama had won and we all erupted in cheers and began crying and making toasts; minutes later people were outside, in the middle of the street, marching toward the White House. The whole stoid city of D.C. was electrified; people were dancing and marching in the streets. We joined hundreds of other people walking to the White House, where we all stood celebrating, singing, chanting, hugging strangers, consumed by our collective relief and joy, united in a way we hadn’t felt, maybe ever.
Paige Holtzman ‘10 reacts to an update during coverage of the 2008 Presidential Election in the John F. Kennedy School of Government. (Staff Photo Nick Welles/Harvard News Office)
i was in a school basement in philadelphia. my mom called me and i walked out into the street to hear her and she was crying and she said, “you did it, you did it,” and i said not yet, they haven’t called california, something could still happen. and then i walked back inside and the giant screen changed colors and who…ever was on CNN said “barack obama has been elected president,” and people collapsed into each other, and ran around in circles, and strangers grabbed me and held me because i was crying so hard that nothing was coming out, and then everyone started to dance.
We were living in The Netherlands. We fell asleep on the couch waiting for the states to report, and woke up to Ohio (preliminary cheer!) After a short nap, we watched the final call, got a little teary during his speech, and then moved off the couch and slept very well. :)
I was at an Operation Black Vote party in the UK, then me and my triplet sister stayed up and watched the announcements while one of my colleagues tried to sleep in the same room! Still remember the excitement. A change has gone and come.
Share your memories as people
all over the nation celebrated
President Obama’s historic victory.
On November 4th, 2008, our nation elected a new face in the history of U.S. presidents. It wasn’t just a vote for a new president, it was the resurrection of optimism that swept across the country.
The momentum that emerged from the Obama campaign energized millions of otherwise indifferent voters. Millions of citizens took a leap of faith and embraced the courage to believe in an unlikely candidate. This watershed moment sparked a genuine outpouring of emotion as the victory was announced. In that moment, friends and strangers gathered together—cheering, crying, dancing running through the streets, rejoicing in a spontaneous celebration which spanned from homes to towns, cities, states, and across continents.
This site was created to serve as a record of that night seen through the eyes of the people who made it happen. Our effort to bring together all of the stray images, videos and unwritten stories from that evening. We believe that the historic significance should not be lost amidst today’s fleeting headlines. As Obama said in his speech that night, this victory belonged to all of us.