For those who entered through the security zone at Fifth and Arch streets, Bruce Springsteen suddenly appeared 30 yards away, strumming something about going home.
His small stage faced north in front of the Independence Visitors Center. Behind him and to the south of Market Street stood 30,000 people.
They stuffed the block between Market and Chestnut streets and Fifth and Sixth streets. They arrived on trains and in cars hours earlier to see Hillary Clinton on the eve of the presidential election. Clinton, a former First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, had promised the crowd some star power: and not just of the New Jersey rock-and-roll variety.
Springsteen finished a three-song set and up came the lights on a main stage a bit north of the Boss. Chelsea Clinton appeared, talking about the incredible campaigning during the last year. Then came her father, former President Clinton.
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Next came Michelle Obama, describing herself as “emotional” and sounding it.
“Wow,” she began as loud cheers erupted. “Well, thank you so much.”
The location is an important one for the Obamas -- and all Democrats.
Eight years earlier, on March 18, 2008, her husband Barack Obama gave a speech on race a couple hundred yards from the stage.
That address at the Constitution Center, known now as “A More Perfect Union,” has been credited with rocketing him towards the Democratic nomination. His trip to Independence Mall had propelled him from a first-term, ambitious U.S. senator to a candidate able to unify the Democratic Party.
Now, Michelle Obama stood, she said, in the midst of “perhaps the last and most important thing I can do as First Lady of my country.”
“We are one day away from again making history,” she said. “In just a few hours, we have the power to make her our next president.”
She introduced President Obama, who before calling Hillary Clinton out to the stage described her as having “more experience than me or Bill.”
“I’m betting tomorrow that you will reject fear and choose hope,” he said. “And that is a bet I never lose.”
When Clinton came out, she asked Philadelphia for help making another Democratic president.
“Get out and vote tomorrow, Philadelphia,” she said. “Let’s make history together.”