Thousand wait hours in sun to be part of Obama rally

Karen Newman
Karen Newman

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

KEEHI LAGOON (KHNL) - An estimated 4,000 people gathered at Keehi Lagoon Beach Park Friday to catch a glimpse of Presidential hopeful Barack Obama. The Honolulu-born Democrat took part in a public rally shortly after his arrival on Oahu.

Arriving at 4:40 am, Karen Newman is the winner of one political race, the race to the front of a long line at Keehi Lagoon Beach Park.

"When I first got here, it was so pitch black," the Hawaii Kai resident said. "It was only me and a few maintenance workers."

The public rally for Presidential hopeful Barack Obama still hours away, Honolulu police and the US Secret Service start their security sweep of the area. They use bomb-sniffing dogs and mirrors to check the grounds.

"This is history in the making," Tony Agao, Salt Lake resident, said. "Whoever thought of someone running for President from Hawaii? Now that's a dream come true."

At 12:30 pm, the gates open. Officials from TSA screen everyone going in. No bags, no campaign banners allowed.

Once in, the people must wait a few more hours in the harsh sun before Obama arrives.

"I've made a lot of fast friends," Newman said. "And it's really great because everyone is really friendly."

The crowd cheers as the Punahou graduate walks up to the stage. His supporters say the long wait is worth it.

"The people of Hawaii understand that if we stand up and let our voices be heard, there is no reason we cannot bring about change," Obama told the crowd.

"Obama has his own magnetism and everything else," Agao said. "He speaks from the heart."