Delegate says memories of 9/11 everywhere at RNC
Even old hands went into the 2004 Republican National Convention with a different attitude this year. Carole Brown of Glenwood Springs, a long-time party officer active in local and state politics, and veteran of five national conventions, saw the change.”I went into it with a different feeling than I ever had, going to New York after 9/11,” she said. “There was a tremendous amount of emotion going there, but I can’t tell you how welcoming everyone was.”Given the circumstances, as well as the week-long protests, security was tight all around Madison Square Garden where the convention took place. However, during the week protesters managed to get into the Garden.
“They were in the press area. Someone gave press passes to them, it was kind of creating the news. We were disappointed in that,” Brown said, noting filmmaker Michael Moore, maker of “Fahrenheit 9/11,” also managed to get into the Garden with a press pass.Police lined the sidewalks around the Garden. Brown said she walked along the lines every day to get to her bus four or five blocks away.”They were so friendly,” she said.With all the security on the ground as well as in the skies, Brown said the most she saw of protesters was on television. “The police were very good at keeping them away,” she said.Brown arrived in New York on Saturday, Aug. 28, and returned home Sept. 4.
It was a whirlwind week for the Glenwood native who was an official Colorado delegate to the convention. Delegate meetings began that Sunday, but there were fun excursions such as a night on Broadway seeing “The Phantom of the Opera.””It was wonderful,” Brown said. After the theater there was a reception at Grand Central Station for Colorado Governor Bill Owens and the Colorado delegation. Brown reconnected with old friend Holly Coors, wife of U.S. Senate delegate Pete Coors.Celebrity and politician speakers were a highlight of the convention. Arnold Schwarzenegger “made a big impact; he’s bringing new (moderate) elements to the party,” she said.Democrat Zell Miller, who gave the keynote speech, was a big hit.
“He just brought down the house. To hear from someone on the other side of the aisle that we have to stay the course was tremendous,” Brown said.Memories of 9/11 were ever evident at the convention. At another reception in a building near Ground Zero where the world Trade Center towers once stood, Brown said she spoke to a woman who was in one of the towers on that day. She told of racing down 33 flights of stairs and as she approached the lower floors, saw piles of women’s high heels left behind in the panic to leave the building.”To this day she can’t put them on,” Brown said.For Brown, the experience of sharing the historic gathering of delegates to a national convention never dims.”I wish everyone could experience one. You never see your country or your countrymen the same way again. There’s a sense of history in the making, of being part of something bigger than our everyday lives.””I wish everyone could experience one. You never see your country or your countrymen the same way again. There’s a sense of history in the making, of being part of something bigger than our everyday lives.”
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