John Edwards (search) and his wife Elizabeth visited the grave of their son Wade on Tuesday before leaving their hometown of Raleigh, N.C., to fly to Boston to accept the Democratic vice presidential nomination.

Edwards said the acceptance speech he will give Wednesday night is essentially finished. He told reporters he awoke at 4 a.m. and practiced it for several hours while his wife slept. She will give her own convention speech introducing him.

"I think anybody listening to this speech will think it's positive," Edwards told reporters aboard his campaign plane.

The Edwardses were met at Logan International Airport in Boston by their three children, Cate, 22, Emma Claire, 6, and Jack, 4.

The couple was nearly an hour late for their scheduled departure from Raleigh, keeping about 60 friends and well-wishers waiting under a broiling sun.

Asked about the delay, Edwards said they had made an unscheduled stop.

"We went to the cemetery," he said and then grew silent. Aides said the visit was to the grave of Wade, killed at age 16 in a 1996 jeep accident.

Edwards said that he appears to have fully recovered from a bout of hoarseness that had troubled him for several days. "I think it's fine," he said of his voice.

Recalling the path that took him from campaigning for the presidency in peoples' living rooms in Iowa a year ago to being nominated for vice president at the Democratic National Convention, Edwards said, "I think the important thing for me is to talk to the people tomorrow night the same way I did to those people in living rooms in Iowa."

"I want them to see who I am and what I believe, and why I believe John Kerry should be president," he said.

"I think it's terrific to be able to leave North Carolina and go to Boston for the convention," Edwards said. "I'm very much looking forward to it."

He echoed running mate John Kerry's call for the Sept. 11 commission to be extended to ensure that its recommendations are adopted.

"Both of us believe it's important for the Sept. 11 commission to stay in place to oversee and make sure that we're getting regular reports on the implementation of their recommendations, so that we know that they're in fact being put into place."

He said he was not concerned that President Bush might seize the initiative away from Congress in moving quickly to adopt some of the panel's recommendations.

"I don't think this is about seizing an advantage, I think it's about making sure the American people are kept safe," he said.

Edwards said he expected his speech to run close to half an hour. "I'll talk some about Sen. Kerry, I'll talk some about my personal view about why he should be president, what kind of character he has. I'll talk some about my own background, and then lay out some specific ideas to support our vision for the country."