The following is a speech delivered by Elizabeth Edwards to the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, July 28, 2004:
I'm Elizabeth Edwards, and tonight I am the very proud mother of Cate Edwards.
John and I have been truly blessed with a beautiful and strong family. And we're blessed, too, by you, our great Democratic family.
You have no idea how great you all look from right here.
This has been quite a year for John and for me. We started last January crisscrossing America, talking about how, with determination and vision and optimism, we can end the injustice of two Americas.
And this January, it's going to end when we move two great friends, two great Americans, John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry, into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Teresa represents the victory of spirit and will over tyranny and tragedy, and she will be the most generous first lady in the history of this country. I am so honored to stand with her.
John Kerry was in the Navy and so was my father. I grew up traveling around the world, living on Navy bases. But I always knew I was home when I saw the American flag.
Like John Kerry, my father fought for this country. Like John Kerry, he was decorated, risking his life in her service.
My father had another thing in common with John Kerry and with so many of the uniformed men and women across this country and around the world: He has the right stuff.
I married a man with the right stuff, too.
He found his own way to serve.
In his community, he was the driving force behind two after-school centers that meet the needs of young people. He was Santa Claus to needy families and, when that wasn't enough, to an entire inner-city child care center. You know, he even looks dashing in a Santa suit.
In youth activities, he did what so many Americans do: giving up their weekends and evenings to coach young people in basketball and soccer, in his church, in urban ministers, in his prayer groups, and for 20 years in his work, fighting for those who could not fight for themselves.
It never mattered how powerful the opponent. It never mattered how entrenched the interest. If the cause was just, and his voice was needed, he was there.
And now he serves the great state of North Carolina in the United States Senate, still fighting for those who count on him to be their voice.
Using his intellect and his eloquence, he has fought to improve our health care choices and to protect our environment.
And he called attention to the threat of terrorism before Sept. 11.
You know, I married the smartest, toughest, sweetest man I know. And in two days, we will celebrate 27 years of marriage.
The way we always do. We'll do it the way we always do at Wendy's.
Whether it's Wendy's or Washington, I've found that it's true: It's not where you go, it's who you go with.
But none of the things I've mentioned are the reason that I married John Edwards. I married him because he was the single-most optimistic person that I have ever known.
He knew there was a brighter day ahead, even as he swept the floors in the cotton mill as a high school student.
He knew if he worked hard enough, he could be the first in his family to go to college.
He knew that he could outwork and out-tough any battalion of lawyers to find justice. And he continued that fight in Washington, courageously, eloquently, with one simple goal: to make the opportunities of America available to all Americans.
We deserve leaders who allow their faith and moral core, our faiths and moral core to draw us closer together, not drive us farther apart. We deserve leaders who believe in each of us and fight for all of us. My rock, my love, and your next vice president, John Edwards.
The following is a speech delivered by Cate Edwards, daughter of John Edwards, at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, July 28, 2004:
Hi, I'm Cate Edwards.
By now I'm not sure if more of you know me as John and Elizabeth's daughter or as Jack and Emma Claire's older sister. But tonight, I can tell you that I am the proud child of two people who have made our home a place of hope, two people who will make sure our country is a land of possibility when my dad is the next Vice President of the United States of America.
And standing beside him tonight, standing beside him always, is his wife, my mom, Elizabeth.
Both my mom and my dad have always taught me to dream big and reach high. Now, as a young woman about to head out into the real world, I have one thought on my mind: If I can live a life even half as accomplished as my mother's, then I'll have done alright.
The truth is, my mom has done it all. She's been a star law student, and a PTA member, a successful attorney, and a coach, a public servant, and a mentor, and above all, a mother who is always there for us — always.
But I look up to her not only because of what she does with her life, but because of the way she lives it: with a strength that inspires. With a courage that carries on. With a kindness that keeps our front-door open and our family and friends close. And, with an optimism that keeps her joined to my father at the heart.
I know that some may find it easier to look at the hurt in the world and the challenges around us and simply turn away or sit at home. But we were raised by our parents to believe differently. Because my mom and dad believe differently.
John Kerry and Teresa believe differently too, and that's why together, we're going to change this country.
They say a ship in a harbor is safe. But that is not what ships are built for. They are built for exploring new possibilities. And, to quote from my mom's favorite poem, they are built for allowing us to "believe that a further shore is reachable from here."
My mom believes. She has brought joy to our home and love to our hearts, and she will join my father in bringing hope to America when she is our next Second Lady of the United States.
Ladies and Gentleman, my mother, Elizabeth Edwards.