When Kathy Siron dressed for the Donald Trump rally on Feb. 29, she draped her grandfather’s dog tags around her neck and pinned her other grandfather’s Purple Heart onto her shirt. Her grandfather received the Purple Heart, she said, after being shot in the head on the beaches of Normandy. He survived. And if he were alive today to see the corruption of career politicians in Washington, D.C., she said, he’d be shocked.
“Our entire country is broken. The Democratic Party is broken. The Republican Party is broken,” said Siron, a postal worker from Staunton, Virginia, from a family of veterans herself. “Nobody represents the people.”
For her, Donald Trump, real estate mogul and the GOP’s front-running presidential candidate, is the solution. He’s set to walk onto the stage in front of her around 12 p.m. to deliver a speech and rally potential voters. This was the first time she’d be seeing him in person, and she prepared for the occasion with six decorated signs bearing slogans like “BRING BACK GOD,” “DEPORT -N- EXPORT,” and “TRUMP 2016.” She was ready for Trump.
She wasn’t alone.
Thousands flocked to the 3,800-seat Dedmond Center at Radford University this past leap day to have a chance at hearing Trump speak—a location wisely-chosen by the campaign. By Trump’s estimate, “15,000 amazing supporters” were in attendance for the hour-long rally. And while many passionate supporters like Siron attended, his opposition also made their way into the arena. Outside, a lengthy line of would-be ralliers wound around the nearby parking lot and down the road. They watched on a large screen outside.