Students pile onto buses for Romney rally at Lynchburg airport
Hundreds of Liberty University students boarded buses to a victory rally for Gov. Mitt Romney on Monday at Lynchburg Regional Airport, Romney’s second stop on a four-state, six-rally tour on the last day before the presidential election.
Students waited in long lines in front of the Vines Center after Convocation as buses made repeat trips to the airport.
Sophomore Kerianne Roberts tried to get on the bus with her friends, but after seeing the buses return three times and the long line of students still waiting, they decided to drive themselves.
“The fact that Mitt Romney could be our president, as of tomorrow, (and) that we had a chance, being college students, to see our possible future president is really a blessing and something I will not take for granted,” she said.
Junior Joshua Novalis said he attended with friends to support his candidate of choice.
“I came out here to support Romney because I’ve just been kind of fed up with how things have been the last four years, so I’m just excited to see someone who’s looking to bring real change to the White House,” he said.
Students went straight to the rally site, which was just steps away from Liberty University School of Aeronautics, following an inspirational Convocation message from economist, author, and actor Ben Stein.
“It was cool seeing Ben Stein speak and put forth some of the same values that Romney said in his speech here — it built up well together, just to see a united front against what we see as a threat to the country,” Novalis said.
Stein arrived at the rally with Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. and his family.
More than 4,000 students are expected to turn out at the new voting precinct on Liberty’s campus on Tuesday, many of them voting for the first time and most exercising that right in their first presidential election.
Junior Andi Peterson said before attending Monday’s rally, she was “not really sure yet” who would get her vote.
“I just kind of wanted to see for myself, hear what he (Romney) thinks and where he stands … being in person and actually seeing that makes more of a difference,” she said. “I liked his passion, how he’s for real change.”
She said the presence of Liberty students at the rally was exciting.
“I’m pretty sure we dominated the place,” she said.
Even Romney, in his 22-minute address, called the crowd “pretty darn impressive.” He arrived in Lynchburg from Orlando, Fla. It was his second visit to the area this year; he spoke at Liberty’s Commencement in May.
Pre-program festivities at Monday’s rally included some faces familiar to Liberty. Charles Billingsley, worship leader at Thomas Road Baptist Church, performed some songs, including "The Star-Spangled Banner,” and Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Dave Young, dean of the School of Aeronautics, led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.