AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - People started lining up outside the box office at Alumni Arena at the University at Buffalo around 11 p.m. Monday for their chance to get tickets to see President Barack Obama speak on Thursday.
Around 1,500 tickets were available to the general public on a first come, first serve basis beginning at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
Nine-year-old Joy Christopher said, "I could grow up tell people that I was here when the president came."
Jordan Camarre said, "We were sort of worried about how many people were going to be here. The arena is, 6,500 people can fit in there. We’re the first in line so it’s pretty exciting."
Another family left their home in Killbuck, near Salamanca, at 2 a.m. Tuesday. Alyssa Santiago said, "This isn’t anything I’ve been able to experience in my lifetime. To be able to come here and bring them, for them to experience it, just sends a powerful message."
President Obama is expected to land in Buffalo on Air Force One around 10:30 a.m. Before that happens, the airspace will be shut down. According to NFTA Spokesperson Doug Hartmayer, airspace will be closed down completely 10 minutes before Air Force One lands.
Hartmayer says customers in the terminal will not notice a change other than tightened security. While the President is on the airport grounds, all air traffic movement will be frozen.
The president will speak at Alumni Arena Thursday morning at 11 a.m. about making higher education more available to middle class families. Ahead of his speech, he sent out a letter, which you can read here.
"By the time you get out of school, the loans are astronomical," said Denise Camarre. She is a parent of a high school senior. "Hopefully it will be a little easier for him. This is going to bring a lot of attention to the cause here."
In just under an hour on Tuesday, all the tickets available were handed out, and around 500 people still in line were given the bad news that they would not be able to see President Obama speak.
Maureen VanNews drove all the way from Rochester to be one of the first people in line and get her ticket.
"I love President Obama," she said. "And if the Senate would get out of his way, Congress would get out of his way, he'd get a lot more done."
Jessica Marshall got her ticket and hopes to hear some tough talk from the President. She will be a freshman at Cooper Union this fall.
"I hope that he has some plans, but I'm not very optimistic about it," she said. "When I was making my college decision, it came down to two very good schools. One was free, the other was $240,000 by the time it was over. So I hope to hear him talk about lowering student loan interest rates at least, because higher education is going to be the next bubble."
President Obama will be speaking at locations in New York and Pennsylvania while Congress is in recess about making higher education more affordable for the middle class.
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