— Sylvia Obell (@SylviaObell) January 13, 2016
When I spotted Edith Childs on my television last night, I immediately knew she’d be getting the meme treatment. And, of course, social media did not disappoint. The sight of Mrs. Childs, in all her golden glory had many of us reaching for the phone to call our aunties and grandmas.
Childs first met Obama back in 2007, when the then-senator visited Greenwood, South Carolina. As Obama addressed a modest crowd of less than 40 people, Childs decided to offer some words of encouragement. The retired nurse and longtime resident of South Carolina, who had been an activist since the Civil Rights Era, shouted the very words that became a rallying cry for President Obama’s campaign.
President Obama recalled the encounter in 2008.
“I didn’t know what was going on, but everybody else in the room just said, ‘Fired up.’ Then I heard a voice say, ‘Ready to go,’” he said. “I turned behind me and I see this woman, about 5-2, 5-3. She’s dressed like she’s going to church; she’s got a church hat on. She looks right at me, she smiles and she says, `Fired up!”
The slogan soon made its way to t-shirts and other campaign items. In 2009, Childs was invited to The White House for Obama’s first holiday celebration as President of the United States. Childs even led a crowd of 20,000 with her famous chant when she served as the South Carolina delegate at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Childs sat in the First Lady’s box as President Obama delivered his final State of the Union Address. An official statement from the White House announcing special guests cited Childs’ “ability to distill the enthusiasm that helped carry (Obama) to the White House.”