Remarks by Bernard Kerik on protecting America as prepared for delivery at the 2004 Republican National Convention on Monday, Aug. 30:
It is an honor to stand before you this evening, not only because of this Convention but because of the history that Madison Square Garden holds for me.
In 1986, I stood in this very arena, raised my right hand and was sworn in as a New York City Police Officer.
Fourteen years later, Mayor Giuliani appointed me as Police Commissioner of this great city and it was a great day in a great time. Crime was down; the city was prospering like never before, and then the unthinkable: America was under attack.
In the attacks of September 11th, we witnessed the worst and the best in humanity.
Through the devastation created by 19 evil men, we witnessed heroics by our first responders that were unparalleled.
We witnessed strong and decisive leadership on that day and those that followed ... in Mayor Giuliani, Governor Pataki and most importantly, our Commander in Chief, President Bush.
We didn't ask for this war, but faced with an evil whose only mission is to destroy our country ... we had to respond.
We had to fight this war abroad. And we had to fight the war here at home.
The President responded by creating the Department of Homeland Security, he enacted the PATRIOT Act and he has tripled our homeland security funding since 2001.
And today in Afghanistan, the Taliban has been unseated from power and the Al Qaeda leadership is on the run.
In Iraq, Saddam Hussein will finally be held accountable.
Today, we live in a much safer world as a result of this President's strong leadership.
As I think about his leadership, I think of the courage it took for our Commander in Chief to land on an airstrip in the dark of night, a world away, to be with our troops on Thanksgiving.
He was there for them as he was for us right here in New York City, inspiring a nation as he stood on hallowed ground, supporting the first responders.
This fight against terrorism takes decisiveness, not contradiction.
It takes continued support for our troops and first responders, not votes against our military, our intelligence and law enforcement spending.
Most importantly, it takes courage and inspirational leadership in the White House.
There are two candidates in this race, but only one fills those needs.
George W. Bush has my vote and for the future and safety of this country, I pray to God he has yours as well.
God bless you and God bless America.