Mitt Romney arrived in Virginia Beach, VA this past Saturday for a quick rally at the Military Aviation Museum. The press, myself included, arrived in swarms like busy bees buzzing around collecting and gathering data to feed to the masses. Meanwhile the young and old stood in droves, melting in the sun and heat, milking patches of shade for relief.
For a few moments, in the smoldering air a sense of political division and grief floated amid the crowds. It almost seemed to seep by the outskirts of lips and creep along the tips of tongues.
But when the gates opened to the grounds of the museum, I met a proud mother, Wanda Morris, as she stood front and center with her son Jonathan Morris, 17. "He'll be turning 18 soon, just in time to vote!" said Morris while eagerly awaiting Romney's arrival. The two of them reminded me of friends of my family.
Then there was volunteer Carole Hersch rocking out her pair of politically themed earrings. She shared her story with me about how she had picked them up some ten years ago but couldn't recall where. Remnants from so long ago, but she still managed to hang onto them; they didn't look a day old. Hersch made me think of my mom and her endless collection of kitschy jewelry.
I can't go on without mentioning Titan Beyer, 7, bowing his head during the invocation with his mother Shannon Chapman. We may have not exchanged stories in words, but their presence reminded me of my own wife and son.
During my time at the rally, I meet many other supporters and we swapped stories that ranged from traveling the back roads of America to the different ships my father was stationed on throughout his Naval career. Whatever the topic, we found a common ground in one another.
I couldn't help it when I found myself humming...
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me