CHICAGO (CBS) — People with tickets to see President Barack Obama’s farewell address in person began lining up inside McCormick Place more than 12 hours before his final speech as the nation’s commander-in-chief.
Some stayed overnight at the Hyatt Regency hotel at McCormick Place, while others made their way over early Tuesday morning, to make sure they would be among the first to get in when doors open at 5 p.m.
Thousands already were in line by 2 p.m., and officials at McCormick Place were moving many of them to a secondary waiting area due to the long lines. Crystal Williams was at the front of the line, after she arrived at 6 a.m.
“We love Mister Obama and the family. Yeah, we want to give him a feel-well hug, feel well-loved,” she said. “I think what we need to hear is more peace and love, and more unity.”
Williams’ 11-year-old son, London, said he was so excited he couldn’t sleep Monday night.
“I couldn’t go to sleep at all,” he said. “He’s the first black president, and I’m very happy for him.”
Many people lined up inside McCormick Place mentioned hope as they waited for the speech; hope, of course, was a main theme of Obama’s campaign when he won his first term as president.
Doors at McCormick Place will open at 5 p.m. for the president’s address. The White House has said the speech will begin at 8 p.m.
Security will be tight. McCormick Place has asked those attending the speech to bring as little as possible. Cameras will be allowed, but umbrellas, sharp objects, bags, and liquids will be banned.