FROM THE 2004 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
BOSTON, MA • JULY 29, 2004
Thank you, my fellow Democrats. I am an American
Our country was attacked. We are at war. Our nation is at
risk, engaged in a life-or- death struggle against terrorists
who are seeking nuclear and biological weapons. And as I
speak tonight, our armed forces are in combat.
Our freedoms were won in war, and protected by generation
after generation of selfless service and sacrifice. From
Bunker Hill to Bastogne, from the frozen hills of Korea to
the jungles of Vietnam, from Kabul to Baghdad, American men
and women in uniform have served with honor; they've given
us so much, and they've asked for so little.
Tonight we honor them: our soldiers, our veterans, their
families. I want to thank my wife, Gert, my son Wesley, his
wife and son and all the military families who stand behind
those who serve. Now I ask you to observe with me a moment
of silence to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice,
so that we could have the freedom we exercise tonight.
War. I've been there. Heard the thump of enemy mortars.
Seen the tracers fly. Bled on the battlefield. Recovered
in hospitals. Received and obeyed orders. Sent men and women
into battle. Awarded medals, comforted families, attended
funerals. And this soldier has news for you: Anyone who tells
you that one political party has a monopoly on the best defense
of our nation is committing a fraud on the American people.
Franklin Roosevelt said it best: "Repetition does not
transform a lie into a truth."
This hall and this party are filled with veterans who have
served under this flag - our flag. We rose and stood reveille
to this flag. We saluted this flag. We fought for this flag.
And we've seen brave men and women buried under this flag.
This flag is ours! And nobody will take it away from us.
The safety of our country demands urgent and innovative
measures to strengthen our armed forces. The safety of our
country demands credible intelligence. The safety of our
country demands cooperation with our allies. The safety of
our country demands making more friends and fewer enemies.
The safety of our country demands an end to the doctrinaire,
ineffective policies that currently grip Washington.
Enough is enough! A safe America - a just America - that's
what we want, that's what we need. And with John Kerry and
John Edwards, that's what we will achieve.
John Kerry has lived the values of service and sacrifice.
In the Navy, as a prosecutor, as a Senator. He proved his
physical courage under fire. He's proved his moral courage,
too. John Kerry fought a war and came home to fight for peace
- his combination of physical courage and moral values is
my definition of what we need in a Commander-in-Chief.
And John Edwards, with his leadership and competence, will
be a great member of this command team. John Kerry is a man
who - in times of war - can lead as a warrior, and who -
in times of peace - will heed the call of scripture to beat
swords into plowshares. John Kerry will lead America with
strength and wisdom. He has the will to fight, and the moral
courage born in battle to pursue and secure a strong peace.
Under John Kerry we will attack and destroy the terrorist
threat to America. He'll join the pantheon of great wartime
Great Democrats like Woodrow Wilson, who led us to victory
in World War I. Great Democrats like Franklin Roosevelt and
Harry Truman, who turned back the tide of fascism to win
World War II. Great Democrats like John Kennedy, who stood
firm and steered us safely through the Cuban Missile Crisis.
And great Democrats like Bill Clinton, who confronted ethnic
cleansing in Yugoslavia, and with diplomacy - backed by force
- brought peace to a shattered land.
My fellow Americans, Democrats are leaders. Democrats are
fighters. John Kerry is a leader and fighter and he will
be a great Commander-in-Chief.
John Kerry knows that the power of America is our values
and ideals. John Kerry knows that our soldiers embody the
best of America's values: Service. Sacrifice. Courage. Compassion.
They're serving to build something greater than themselves.
They're serving to build something worth fighting for. They're
serving to build something worth dying for. They are a company
of heroes. Everyone who fights for the best in American life
is also a hero: Firefighters. Police officers. Teachers,
and so many others.
John Kerry's time to lead this company of heroes has arrived.
Right here. Right now. In this town. Tonight, from this place,
we set out together to put our country back on track to security,
freedom and opportunity. America: Hear this soldier.
Choose a leader whose physical courage, moral values and
sound judgment will - with the grace of God and our determined
commitment - strengthen our country, protect our liberty,
renew our spirit and secure a future for our children that
is worthy of our heritage.
Make John Kerry the next president of the United States.
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