A year ago, I waited outside the Target Center to see the next President Elect of the United States speak in front of thousands of people.
The temperature was cold, and I consequently became ill because of our almost three-hour wait, but I will never forget that I saw him speak.
Nov. 4 will be a day that will forever live in the hearts of many.
As I stood in line Tuesday at 6:45 a.m. and waited to vote, I was humbled by all the people who were waiting as well. Students and adults alike were waiting anxiously for the doors to open in order to fulfill their civic duty.
I continued seeing this throughout the day. People waited hours in lines in order to vote for the most historic election to date. And regardless of who anyone voted for, it was beautiful to see so many waiting patiently in the lines for their turn.
People were on their phones, calling their parents and yelling, "I voted!" I saw students texting away, surely reminding their friends to go vote if they had not already. My phone rang about three times from supporters enthusiastically reminding me to go vote during this historic election.
Their efforts were repaid ten-fold.
Campus was full of life, a life I had never seen before. All around, I heard the humming of people as the polls were open. Everywhere, one could hear "Coleman," "Al," "Obama" or "Palin". Discussion was fervent as people reminisced about their first voting experience, and they exclaimed how important this election would be.
Signs were posted all around campus at kiosks, people were handing out stickers, and students were standing on the corner of University and 15th holding signs and banners. Cars and buses would pass and honk, inciting screams and fist pumps in the air as they celebrated this acknowledgment.
The air was full of enthusiasm. And I was a part of it.
Perhaps I doubted my classmates at the U too much. Perhaps I doubted my generation too much. Perhaps I doubted my fellow countrymen too much.
I am glad they all proved me wrong. My heart is filled with warmth because I lived to see the day that a man of color was elected to be the Chief Executive of this country. I am glad because one day I will be able to tell the next generation that I voted for the first African American to become President of the United States.
As they announced Obama's election, I could not restrain the tears. They fell and fell and continue to fall. Never before had I been so proud to call myself an American. This is a step for us all, a step for minorities, a step for all those disenfranchised who believed they could never do it.
He fought twice as long, he fought twice as hard and he accomplished a beautiful thing. But what is more, we as Americans accomplished a beautiful thing that will transcend time. We as students got out the vote. We as individuals went to the polls.
At a time like this, I am reminded of a quote by Chicano activist Cesar Chavez. "When you have people together who believe in something very strongly - whether it's religion or politics or unions - things happen."
This was perhaps the most important factor--believing. Americans believed in a dream, Americans believed in change, Americans believed in hope. We believed. We achieved.
Today, I am a proud American.