A year ago today, I was in Fairbanks, Alaska as Governor Sarah Palin bid farewell to leading the state she dearly loves. I saw the crowd gathering, many holding signs or wearing shirts broadcasting their gratefulness to the woman who had served them so faithfully. I also saw, approached, and engaged in a spirited debate with people who arrived for no other reason, it appeared, than to demonstrate their disapproval of the Governor.
From July 3rd when I heard the news that she would be stepping down, to July 26th as I prepared to attend that final farewell, I had prayed that Governor Palin would not look back but would have peace in the knowledge that she had, in fact, made the right decision. That afternoon, I watched Governor Palin serve the people of Alaska hot dogs and a smile for the last time as their governor. Just taking it all in, I knew intuitively that she had no regrets. I knew that she knew that it was, as the saying goes, all good. And that was enough for me.
Taking to the stage with her black jacket and blue jeans, she displayed a calm that comes only from a blessed assurance that your steps are being ordered. In that quiet confidence, she was able to shut up a lunatic in the crowd, tell the media not to mess with Sean Parnell's children, and embrace her own who were there with her on the stage.
At the conclusion of Sean Parnell's swearing in, while her parents and some friends still lingered on the premises of Pioneer Park, Governor Palin was nowhere to be seen. She had quickly slipped away, leaving the new governor to enjoy his moment--and his cake. She left and embarked on a new chapter of a book of her life still being written. Only history will fully tell the tale.
I cannot remember exactly what I was thinking as I put my head to pillow hours later. I do remember my mind being fixed throughout the day on the concept of new beginnings. This theme has stuck with me, and not just for the Governor. That precise moment in time marked newness for so many of us as we have literally witnessed a story of epic proportions that has not lost its savor but has picked up momentum. How many of her supporters would have ever touched base had not we taken this walk with her? How many Mama Grizzlies would still be hibernating? How many policies of this Obama administration would be going unchallenged? How many of us would be personally involved in taking back our country? To be honest, the likely answers to those questions are troubling.
The haters thought they had her. As much of a sacrifice as it was, however, Governor Palin disarmed them. And in so doing, she's accomplishing more than many imagined possible. Rather than answering bogus ethics complaints, arguing with state legislators hell-bent on fighting her at every turn, and succumbing to the full-court press waged against her, she is battling the political insanity of this current administration, fighting for the soul of America, and inspiring a generation.
She ended that day with this tweet:
Thank you Alaska! I love you. God bless Alaska. God bless the U.S.A.
Read my original first-hand account and see pictures of July 26, 2009, by clicking here.