Venda Rhea Young never thought she’d be sitting just a few yards from the president of the United States.
But Thursday, the last day of the Democratic National Convention, Young and husband Thomas got to hear President Barack Obama deliver his message of moving forward.
“It was wonderful,” Young said. “The president was fantastic … he did a great job. He brought out some things people really needed to know. Whatever misunderstandings or things that people didn’t understand, he made it very clear.”
As a delegate, Young was the only person to represent Forsyth County at the Democratic convention, which ran Tuesday through Thursday in Charlotte, N.C. She got to officially support Obama for a second term in office and weigh in on the party’s platform.
The Youngs left their Forsyth home Monday to get a head start and returned Friday, the night after Obama and Vice President Joe Biden delivered their acceptance speeches.
Among those not in the audience at the Charlotte Convention Center was Mary Chatfield, chairwoman of Democratic Women of Forsyth County, and 55 of her friends.
The group was supposed to take a bus to the convention to watch Obama speak. However, due to last-minute weather concerns, Obama spoke at the convention center instead of the Bank of America Stadium, where he was supposed to appear.
“We were sorely disappointed,” Chatfield said. “I was so excited about going. It wasn’t just about seeing the president, it was the whole experience … it would have been nice to have seen that in person.”
It was nice to be a part of it, Thomas said, especially the camaraderie.
“You’ve got a chance to meet other people,” she said. “I was sitting next to some people from Florida and we got the chance to know them and get their thoughts and everybody was always on the same line.”
The convention boasted several speakers, including rising party stars like San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and Elizabeth Warren, founder of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Warren is currently running against Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.
A highlight of the convention and for Young was a speech by former President Bill Clinton.
“He just went in there and moved all the stones away and cleared a path so the president could go right on in,” she said. “He was great.”
First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech also was particularly satisfying for Young, as a woman with children.
“She was so sincere and she had tears in everybody’s eyes that I could see around me,” Young said. “It was sincere, it was beautiful and she did a great job.”
Young said the whole event was a memorable experience and something she was glad to share with her husband.
“It was something we never thought we’d get an opportunity to do. And to be able to do this and go to the convention and see President Obama accept the nomination, and to hear him speak and to be in the same room, basically, with him was pretty exciting,” she said.