On Wednesday April 20, 2011, I was given the distinct pleasure of hosting Congressman Ron Paul at my alma mater, Mississippi State University.
As I woke up that morning I was greeted with the sound of thunder. Ben Weinberg, MSU chapter president, and I were worried about the number of people that would show up to the event that night. To clear my head of these distractions, I drove around the dreary but normally beautiful town of Starkville and waited for Congressman Paul to arrive. When I showed up to the airport to pick up him and his entourage, I was informed that lightning had struck the runway and cracked a portion of it. I had heard of lightning splitting trees in half but never a runway.
From the airport we drove to campus for his book signing. Once we got to the Barnes & Noble, our plans went out the window but thankfully, everything went smoothly. Over the course of an hour over 150 people came to have Congressman Paul’s new book Liberty Defined.
After the book signing ended the weather started to worsen; tornado sirens were going off regularly, even right up to the start of the event. A funnel cloud was forming in the distance and dime-sized hail fell from the sky.
The press availability was intended to start at 5:30, however the press showed up early due to the weather. Also as a result, the press event went from a press-only event to a room full of students; the Dawg House was allegedly the safest place in the Colvard Student Union. After the press was done asking questions the students in the room applauded Dr. Paul for his honest and principled answers.
The weather continued to worsen and actually started raining sideways; however, the private reception was well attended by students, faculty and other supporters of liberty.
The weather finally lightened up enough for everyone to walk over to Bettersworth Auditorium to take their seats in anticipation of hearing Dr. Paul’s speech. Despite the inclement weather, the 1,100 seater auditorium was at capacity.
The speech started with the “I Pledge” video to encourage the audience to get involved with Young Americans for Liberty followed by short introductions from founder of the Mississippi State chapter and current employee of the Campaign for Liberty, Matt Burrow, and current chapter president, Ben Weinberg. Finally the guest of honor spoke and was greeted with a warm Mississippi welcome. Dr. Paul’s speech touched on many issues, including the Federal Reserve and economic climate, the multiple wars in the Middle East, civil liberties and the recent ordinance in Starkville which requires those riding bicycles to wear a helmet.
After his speech the chapter presented him with a gift, a cowbell which summarizes Mississippi State tradition.
I would like to thank everyone who helped make this event possible, this was truely an amazing experience. Official event poster courtesy Bryan Barham. Photos courtesy Guy Davenport, Gage Skidmore and Brad Overby.
To view all photos of the event please visit YAL MSU’s Picasa.Published in