BOSTON – The following is a transcript of the speech given by Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of John Kerry, at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, July 27, 2004:
I have a very personal feeling about how special America is, and I know how precious freedom is. It is a sacred gift, sanctified by those who have lived it and by those who have died defending it.
Tonight I want to remember my mother's warmth, generosity, wisdom, and hopefulness, and thank her for all the sacrifices she made on our behalf — like so many other mothers.
This evening, I want to acknowledge and honor the women of this world, whose wise voices for much too long have been excluded and discounted.
It is time for the world to hear women's voices — in full and at last.
John believes in a bright future.
He believes we can, and will, invent the technologies, new materials and conservation methods of the future. He believes that alternative fuels will guarantee that not only will no American boy or girl go to war because of our dependency on foreign oil. But also that our economic security will forever become independent of this need.
We can, and we will, create good, competitive, and sustainable jobs while still protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the health of our children, because good environmental policy is good economics.
John believes that we can, and we will, give every family and every child access to affordable health care, a good education, and the tools to become self-reliant.
John Kerry believes we must, and we should, recognize the immense value of the caregivers in our country - those women and men who nurture and care for children, for elderly parents, for family members in need. These are the people who build and support our most valuable assets — our families.
Isn't it time we began working to give parents more opportunity to be with their children and to afford to have a family life?
With John Kerry as President, we can, and we will, protect our nation's security without sacrificing our civil liberties.
In short, John believes we can, and we must, lead in the world as America, unique among nations, always should-by showing the face, not of our fears, but of our hopes. John is a fighter.
He earned his medals the old-fashioned way, by putting his life on the line for his country.
No one will defend this nation more vigorously than he will — and he will always be first in the line of fire.
But he also knows the importance of getting it right.
For him, the names of too many friends inscribed in the cold stone of the Vietnam Memorial testify to the awful toll exacted by leaders who mistake stubbornness for strength.
That is why, as president, my husband will not fear disagreement or dissent.
He believes that our voices — yours and mine — must be the voices of freedom.
And if we do not speak, neither does she.
In America, the true patriots are those who dare speak truth to power.
The truth we must speak now is that America has responsibilities that it is time for us to accept again.
With John Kerry as president, global climate change and other threats to the health of our planet will begin to be reversed.
With John Kerry as President, the alliances that bind the community of nations and that truly make our country and the world a safer place, will be strengthened once more.