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I saw many amazing and inspiring things as a member of the New Jersey delegation in Charlotte, but there were two things that truly stood out.
The first was when Gabrielle Giffords walked on stage to do the pledge of allegiance. It may not have been shown on TV and in prime time, but to me, that was just pretty unbelievable to be there to witness. But I didn’t really have a personal tie to that, so it was more inspiring than moving for me.
The second dealt with a woman I have had the opportunity to work closely with when I was the Director of Communications in Cherry Hill, Councilwoman Melinda Kane. Melinda’s life experience brought her to office, becoming an advocate for veterans and military families after her son Jeremy, a Marine serving in Afghanistan, made the ultimate sacrifice.
I have visited the park they dedicated in Jeremy’s honor in Cherry Hill and participated in the benefit run that they hold with Rutgers Camden and Veterans for Education each year. But in Charlotte, it was much more. I talked with Melinda as she prepared to sit with Michelle Obama for the Wednesday evening events. I spoke with her after she was recorded reading a poem about Jeremy for the Veterans tribute video. And then I watched as this Gold Star Mother shed tears of both pride and sadness, comforted by Assemblyman Lou Greenwald during the Veterans ceremony when they showed the video and honored the sacrifice of her son. That was my most moving experience in Charlotte and I just wanted to share a little bit of it with you. I was proud to be there with her. You can see this video with Melinda talking about her experience in Charlotte with MSNBC: