Democrats John Kerry (search) and John Edwards (search) will join their families Friday at Kerry's birthplace in Aurora, Colo., starting a series of campaign events leading to the Massachusetts senator's acceptance of his party's presidential nomination six days later.

In events highlighting campaign themes, Kerry will travel from Colorado through several cities, wrapping up in Philadelphia on Wednesday — and finally Boston, site of the Democratic National Convention. Stops include Sioux City, Iowa; Columbus, Ohio; Cape Canaveral, Fla., and Norfolk, Va.

Edwards and his family will leave Colorado with a separate campaign itinerary, including appearances in Milwaukee and in North Carolina, where the vice presidential choice is the senior senator.

"As they prepare to accept their party's nomination, John Kerry and John Edwards will visit the places and people that symbolize the values that built this country and the values that will make us stronger again," said Mary Beth Cahill, Kerry's campaign manager.

Military veterans will play an important role in Kerry campaign events leading up to the convention, as they have in the early stages of the campaign and will in the convention that nominates Vietnam veteran Kerry.

Campaign officials say some of the stops represent crucial optimistic moments in the nation's history and will emphasize Kerry-Edwards campaign themes. Many of those stops also happen to be in key swing states.

— Aurora, Colo.: The Friday event at Kerry's birthplace in an Army hospital will emphasize family and service, focusing on the military career of Kerry's father and his mother's lifetime of volunteer service.

— Sioux City, Iowa: The Saturday campaign stop will focus on American optimism in a town that was part of the Lewis and Clark expedition to discover the West.

— Columbus, Ohio: The Sunday event has a theme of opportunity, contrasting the state's long ties with the railroad industry contrasted with Ohio's troubled economy now. Kerry will talk about his plans to improve employment opportunities.

— Cape Canaveral, Fla.: As the convention starts in Boston, Kerry will talk about America's future Monday, July 26, at the Florida site of space launches and highlight his plans to strengthen the nation's health care.

— Norfolk, Va.: Kerry, a former naval officer, will stop at the Navy port Tuesday to talk about his commitment to the nation's military strength.

— Philadelphia: Kerry will speak Wednesday about the Democratic ticket's plans to strengthen this nation's position in the world by rebuilding alliances. Edwards expects to touch on similar themes in his acceptance speech at the convention in Boston.

— Boston: Kerry will accept his party's nomination Thursday — expanding on the Kerry-Edwards' campaign theme of making America "stronger at home and respected in the world."