The Senator of Arizona, John McCain, delivered the following speech on Monday, August 30, 2004 to the Republican National Convention.
Thank you, Lindsey, and, thank you, my fellow Republicans.
I'm truly grateful for the privilege of addressing you.
This week, millions of Americans, not all Republicans, weigh our claim on their support for the two men who have led our country in these challenging times with moral courage and firm resolve.
So I begin with the words of a great American from the other party, given at his party's convention in the year I was born.
My purpose is not imitation, for I can't match his eloquence, but respect for the relevance in our time of his rousing summons to greatness of an earlier generation of Americans.
In a time of deep distress at home, as tyranny strangled the aspirations to liberty of millions, and as war clouds gathered in the West and East, Franklin Delano Roosevelt accepted his party's nomination by observing:
"There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny."
The awful events of September 11, 2001 declared a war we were vaguely aware of, but hadn't really comprehended how near the threat was, and how terrible were the plans of our enemies.
It's a big thing, this war.
It's a fight between a just regard for human dignity and a malevolent force that defiles an honorable religion by disputing God's love for every soul on earth. It's a fight between right and wrong, good and evil.
And should our enemies acquire for their arsenal the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons they seek, this war will become a much bigger thing.
So it is, whether we wished it or not, that we have come to the test of our generation, to our rendezvous with destiny.
And much is expected of us.
We are engaged in a hard struggle against a cruel and determined adversary.
Our enemies have made clear the danger they pose to our security and to the very essence of our culture... liberty.
Only the most deluded of us could doubt the necessity of this war.
Like all wars, this one will have its ups and downs.
But we must fight. We must.
The sacrifices borne in our defense are not shared equally by all Americans.
But all Americans must share a resolve to see this war through to a just end.
We must not be complacent at moments of success, and we must not despair over setbacks.
We must learn from our mistakes, improve on our successes, and vanquish this unpardonable enemy.
If we do less, we will fail the one mission no American generation has ever failed - to provide to our children a stronger, better country than the one we were blessed to inherit.
Remember how we felt when the serenity of a bright September morning was destroyed by a savage atrocity so hostile to all human virtue we could scarcely imagine any human being capable of it.
We were united. First, in sorrow and anger. Then in recognition we were attacked not for a wrong we had done, but for who we are a people united in a kinship of ideals, committed to the notion that the people are sovereign, not governments, not armies, not a pitiless, inhumane theocracy, not kings, mullahs or tyrants, but the people.
In that moment, we were not different races.
We were not poor or rich. We were not Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. We were not two countries.
We were Americans.
All of us, despite the differences that enliven our politics, are united in the one big idea that freedom is our birthright and its defense is always our first responsibility. All other responsibilities come second.
We must not lose sight of that as we debate who among us should bear the greatest responsibility for keeping us safe and free.
We must, whatever our disagreements, stick together in this great challenge of our time.
My friends in the Democratic Party, and I'm fortunate to call many of them my friends, assure us they share the conviction that winning the war against terrorism is our government's most important obligation.
I don't doubt their sincerity. They emphasize that military action alone won't protect us, that this war has many fronts: in courts, financial institutions, in the shadowy world of intelligence, and in diplomacy.
They stress that America needs the help of her friends to combat an evil that threatens us all, that our alliances are as important to victory as are our armies. We agree.
And, as we've been a good friend to other countries in moments of shared perils, so we have good reason to expect their solidarity with us in this struggle. That is what the President believes.
And, thanks to his efforts we have received valuable assistance from many good friends around the globe, even if we have, at times, been disappointed with the reactions of some. I don't doubt the sincerity of my Democratic friends. And they should not doubt ours.
Our President will work with all nations willing to help us defeat this scourge that afflicts us all.
War is an awful business. The lives of a nation's finest patriots are sacrificed. Innocent people suffer. Commerce is disrupted, economies are damaged.
Strategic interests shielded by years of statecraft are endangered as the demands of war and diplomacy conflict.
However just the cause, we should shed a tear for all that is lost when war claims its wages from us. But there is no avoiding this war. We tried that, and our reluctance cost us dearly. And while this war has many components, we can't make victory on the battlefield harder to achieve so that our diplomacy is easier to conduct.
That is not just an expression of our strength. It's a measure of our wisdom.
That's why I commend to my country the re-election of President Bush, and the steady, experienced, public-spirited man who serves as our Vice-President, Dick Cheney.
Four years ago, in Philadelphia, I spoke of my confidence that President Bush would accept the responsibilities that come with America's distinction as the world's only superpower.
I promised he would not let America "retreat behind empty threats, false promises and uncertain diplomacy;" that he would "confidently defend our interests and values wherever they are threatened."
I knew my confidence was well placed when I watched him stand on the rubble of the World Trade Center, with his arm around a hero of September 11th, and in our moment of mourning and anger, strengthen our unity and summon our resolve by promising to right this terrible wrong, and to stand up and fight for the values we hold dear.
He promised our enemies would soon hear from us. And so they did. So they did.
He ordered American forces to Afghanistan and took the fight to our enemies, and away from our shores, seriously injuring al Qaeda and destroying the regime that gave them safe haven. He worked effectively to secure the cooperation of Pakistan, a relationship that's critical to our success against al Qaeda.
He encouraged other friends to recognize the peril that terrorism posed for them, and won their help in apprehending many of those who would attack us again, and in helping to freeze the assets they used to fund their bloody work.
After years of failed diplomacy and limited military pressure to restrain Saddam Hussein, President Bush made the difficult decision to liberate Iraq. Those who criticize that decision would have us believe that the choice was between a status quo that was well enough left alone and war. But there was no status quo to be left alone.
The years of keeping Saddam in a box were coming to a close. The international consensus that he be kept isolated and unarmed had eroded to the point that many critics of military action had decided the time had come again to do business with Saddam, despite his near daily attacks on our pilots, and his refusal, until his last day in power, to allow the unrestricted inspection of his arsenal.
Our choice wasn't between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war. It was between war and a graver threat. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Not our critics abroad. Not our political opponents.
And certainly not a disingenuous film maker who would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace when in fact it was a place of indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves and prisons that destroyed the lives of the small children held inside their walls.
Whether or not Saddam possessed the terrible weapons he once had and used, freed from international pressure and the threat of military action, he would have acquired them again.
The central security concern of our time is to keep such devastating weapons beyond the reach of terrorists who can't be dissuaded from using them by the threat of mutual destruction.
We couldn't afford the risk posed by an unconstrained Saddam in these dangerous times.
By destroying his regime we gave hope to people long oppressed that if they have the courage to fight for it, they may live in peace and freedom.
Most importantly, our efforts may encourage the people of a region that has never known peace or freedom or lasting stability that they may someday possess these rights. I believe as strongly today as ever, the mission was necessary, achievable and noble. For his determination to undertake it, and for his unflagging resolve to see it through to a just end, President Bush deserves not only our support, but our admiration.
As the President rightly reminds us, we are safer than we were on September 11th, but we're not yet safe. We are still closer to the beginning than the end of this fight.
We need a leader with the experience to make the tough decisions and the resolve to stick with them; a leader who will keep us moving forward even if it is easier to rest.
And this President will not rest until America is stronger and safer still, and this hateful iniquity is vanquished. He has been tested and has risen to the most important challenge of our time, and I salute him.
I salute his determination to make this world a better, safer, freer place. He has not wavered. He has not flinched from the hard choices. He will not yield. And neither will we.
I said earlier that the sacrifices in this war will not be shared equally by all Americans. The President is the first to observe, most of the sacrifices fall, as they have before, to the brave men and women of our Armed Forces. We may be good citizens, but make no mistake, they are the very best of us.
It's an honor to live in a country that is so well and so bravely defended by such patriots.
May God bless them, the living and the fallen, as He has blessed us with their service.
For their families, for their friends, for America, for mankind they sacrifice to affirm that right makes might; that good triumphs over evil; that freedom is stronger than tyranny; that love is greater than hate.
It is left to us to keep their generous benefaction alive, and our blessed, beautiful country worthy of their courage. We should be thankful -- for the privilege.
Our country's security doesn't depend on the heroism of every citizen. But we have to be worthy of the sacrifices made on our behalf.
We have to love our freedom, not just for the material benefits it provides, not just for the autonomy it guarantees us, but for the goodness it makes possible.
We have to love it as much, if not as heroically, as the brave Americans who defend us at the risk, and often the cost of their lives.
No American alive today will ever forget what happened on the morning of September 11th. That day was the moment when the pendulum of history swung toward a new era. The opening chapter was tinged with great sadness and uncertainty. It shook us from our complacency in the belief that the Cold War's end had ushered in a time of global tranquility.
But an absence of complacency should not provoke an absence of confidence. What our enemies have sought to destroy is beyond their reach. It cannot be taken from us. It can only be surrendered.
My friends, we are again met on the field of political competition with our fellow countrymen. It is more than appropriate, it is necessary that even in times of crisis we have these contests, and engage in spirited disagreement over the shape and course of our government.
We have nothing to fear from each other. We are arguing over the means to better secure our freedom, and promote the general welfare. But it should remain an argument among friends who share an unshaken belief in our great cause, and in the goodness of each other.
We are Americans first, Americans last, Americans always. Let us argue our differences.
But remember we are not enemies, but comrades in a war against a real enemy, and take courage from the knowledge that our military superiority is matched only by the superiority of our ideals, and our unconquerable love for them.
Our adversaries are weaker than us in arms and men, but weaker still in causes. They fight to express a hatred for all that is good in humanity.
We fight for love of freedom and justice, a love that is invincible. Keep that faith. Keep your courage. Stick together. Stay strong.
Do not yield. Do not flinch. Stand up. Stand up with our President and fight.
We're Americans, and we'll never surrender.
The former Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, delivered a speech on Monday, August 30, 2004 to the Republican National Convention.
Welcome to the capital of the World.
New York was the first capital of our great nation. It was here in 1789 in lower Manhattan that George Washington took the oath of office as the first President of the United States.
It was here in 2001 in lower Manhattan that President George W. Bush stood amid the fallen towers of the World Trade Center and said to the barbaric terrorists who attacked us, "They will hear from us."
They have heard from us!
They heard from us in Afghanistan and we removed the Taliban.
They heard from us in Iraq and we ended Saddam Hussein's reign of terror.
They heard from us in Libya, and without firing a shot, Qadhafi abandoned weapons of mass destruction.
They are hearing from us in nations that are now more reluctant to sponsor terrorists.
So long as George Bush is President, is there any doubt they will continue to hear from us until we defeat global terrorism.
We owe that much and more to those loved ones and heroes we lost on September 11th.
The families of some of those we lost on September 11th are here with us. To them, and all those families affected by September 11th, we recognize the sacrifices your loved ones and you have made. You are in our prayers and we are in your debt.
This is the first Republican Convention ever held in New York City.
It makes a statement that New York City and America are open for business and stronger than ever.
We're not going to let the threat of terrorism stop us from leading our lives.
From the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, to President George W. Bush, our party's great contribution is to expand freedom in our own land and all over the world.
And our party is at its best when it makes certain that we have a powerful national defense in a still very dangerous world.
I don't believe we're right about everything and Democrats are wrong about everything.
Neither party has a monopoly on virtue.
But I do believe that there are times in our history when our ideas are more necessary and important for what we are facing.
There are times when leadership is the most important.
On September 11, this city and our nation faced the worst attack in our history.
On that day, we had to confront reality. For me, standing below the north tower and looking up and seeing the flames of hell and then realizing that I was actually seeing a man a human being jumping from the 101st or 102nd floor drove home to me that we were facing something beyond anything we had ever faced before.
We had to concentrate all of our energy, faith and hope to get through those first hours and days.
And I will always remember that moment as we escaped the building we were trapped in at 75 Barclay Street and realized that things outside might be even worse than they were inside the building.
We did the best we could to communicate a message of calm and hope, as we stood on the pavement seeing a massive cloud rushing through the cavernous streets of lower Manhattan.
Our people were so brave in their response.
At the time, we believed we would be attacked many more times that day and in the days that followed. Spontaneously, I grabbed the arm of then Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and said to Bernie, "Thank God George Bush is our President."
And I say it again tonight, "Thank God George Bush is our President."
On September 11, George W. Bush had been President less than eight months. This new President, Vice President, and new administration were faced with the worst crisis in our history.
President Bush's response in keeping us unified and in turning the ship of state around from being solely on defense against terrorism to being on offense as well and for his holding us together.
For that and then his determined effort to defeat global terrorism, no matter what happens in this election, President George W. Bush already has earned a place in our history as a great American President.
But let's not wait for history to present the correct view of our President. Let us write our own history.
We need George Bush now more than ever.
The horror, the shock and the devastation of those attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and over the skies of Pennsylvania lifted a cloud from our eyes.
We stood face to face with those people and forces who hijacked not just airplanes, but a religion, and turned it into a creed of terrorism dedicated to eradicating us and our way of life.
Terrorism did not start on September 11, 2001. It had been festering for many years.
And the world had created a response to it that allowed it to succeed. The attack on the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics was in 1972. And the pattern had already begun.
The three surviving terrorists were arrested and within two months released by the German government.
Action like this became the rule, not the exception.
Terrorists came to learn they could attack and often not face consequences.
In 1985, terrorists attacked the Achille Lauro and murdered an American citizen who was in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer.
They marked him for murder solely because he was Jewish.
Some of those terrorist were released and some of the remaining terrorists allowed to escape by the Italian government because of fear of reprisals.
So terrorists learned they could intimidate the world community and too often the response, particularly in Europe, was "accommodation, appeasement and compromise."
And worse the terrorists also learned that their cause would be taken more seriously, almost in direct proportion to the barbarity of the attack.
Terrorist acts became a ticket to the international bargaining table.
How else to explain Yasser Arafat winning the Nobel Peace Prize when he was supporting a terrorist plague in the Middle East that undermined any chance of peace?
Before September 11, we were living with an unrealistic view of the world, much like our observing Europe appease Hitler, or trying to accommodate ourselves to peaceful co-existence with the Soviet Union through mutually assured destruction.
President Bush decided that we could no longer be just on defense against global terrorism but we must also be on offense.
On September 20, 2001, President Bush stood before a joint session of Congress, a still grieving and shocked nation and a confused world and he did change the direction of our ship of state.
He dedicated America under his leadership to destroying global terrorism.
The President announced the Bush Doctrine when he said: "Our war on terror begins with Al Qaeda, but it does not end there.
It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.
"Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."
And since September 11th, President Bush has remained rock solid.
It doesn't matter how he is demonized.
It doesn't matter what the media does to ridicule him or misinterpret him or defeat him.
They ridiculed Winston Churchill. They belittled Ronald Reagan.
But like President Bush, they were optimists; leaders must be optimists. Their vision was beyond the present and set on a future of real peace and true freedom.
Some call it stubbornness. I call it principled leadership.
President Bush has the courage of his convictions.
In choosing a President, we really don't choose a Republican or Democrat, a conservative or liberal.
We choose a leader.
And in times of danger, as we are now in, Americans should put leadership at the core of their decision.
There are many qualities that make a great leader but having strong beliefs, being able to stick with them through popular and unpopular times, is the most important characteristic of a great leader.
Winston Churchill saw the dangers of Hitler while his opponents characterized him as a war-mongering gadfly.
Ronald Reagan saw and described the Soviet Union as "the evil empire" while world opinion accepted it as inevitable and belittled Ronald Reagan's intelligence.
President Bush sees world terrorism for the evil that it is.
John Kerry has no such clear, precise and consistent vision.
This is not a personal criticism of John Kerry. I respect him for his service to our nation.
But it is important to see the contrast in approach between the two men;
President Bush, a leader who is willing to stick with difficult decisions even as public opinion shifts, and John Kerry, whose record in elected office suggests a man who changes his position often even on important issues.
When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, John Kerry voted against the Persian Gulf War. Later he said he actually supported the war.
Then in 2002, as he was calculating his run for President, he voted for the war in Iraq.
And then just 9 months later, he voted against an $87 billion supplemental budget to fund the war and support our troops.
He even, at one point, declared himself an anti-war candidate. Now, he says he's pro-war. At this rate, with 64 days left, he still has time to change his position at least four or five more times.
My point about John Kerry being inconsistent is best described in his own words when he said, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
Maybe this explains John Edwards' need for two Americas -- one where John Kerry can vote for something and another where he can vote against the same thing.
Yes, people in public office at times do change their minds, I've done that, or they realize they are wrong or circumstances change.
But John Kerry has made it the rule to change his position, rather than the exception. In October, 2003, he told an Arab-American Institute in Detroit that a security barrier separating Israel from the Palestinian Territories was a "barrier to peace."
A few months later, he took exactly the opposite position. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post he said, "Israel's security fence is a legitimate act of self defense."
The contrasts are dramatic. They involve very different views of how to deal with terrorism.
President Bush will make certain that we are combatting terrorism at the source, beyond our shores, so we can reduce the risk of having to confront it in the streets of New York.
John Kerry's record of inconsistent positions on combatting terrorism gives us no confidence he'll pursue such a determined course.
President Bush will not allow countries that appear to have ignored the lessons of history and failed for over thirty years to stand up to terrorists, to dissuade us from what is necessary for our defense.
He will not let them set our agenda. Under President Bush, America will lead rather than follow.
John Kerry's claim that certain foreign leaders who opposed our removal of Saddam Hussein prefer him, raises the risk that he would accommodate his position to their viewpoint.
It would hardly be the first time he changed his position on matters of war and peace.
I remember the days following September 11th when we were no longer Democrats or Republicans, but Americans determined to do all we could to help the victims, to rebuild our city and nation and to disable our enemies.
I remember President Bush coming here on September 14, 2001 and lifting the morale of our rescue workers by talking with them and embracing them and staying with them much longer than originally planned.
In fact, if you promise to keep it just between us so I don't get in trouble, it was my opinion that the Secret Service was concerned about the President remaining so long in that area.
With buildings still unstable, with fires raging below ground of 2000 degrees or more, there was good reason for concern.
Well, the President remained there and talked to everyone, the firefighters, the police officers, the healthcare workers, the clergy, but the people who spent the most time with him were our construction workers.
Now New York construction workers are very special people. I'm sure this is true all over but I know the ones here the best. They were real heroes along with many others that day, volunteering immediately. And they're big, real big. Their arms are bigger than my legs and their opinions are even bigger than their arms.
Now each one of them would engage the President and I imagine, like his cabinet, give him advice.
They were advising him in their own words on exactly what he should do with the terrorists. Of course I can't repeat their exact language.
But one of them really went into great detail and upon conclusion of his remarks President Bush said in a rather loud voice, "I agree."
At this point the guy just beamed and all his buddies turned toward him in amazement.
The guy just lost it.
So he reached over, embraced the President and began hugging him enthusiastically.
A Secret Service agent standing next to me looked at the President and the guy and instead of extracting the President from this bear hug, he turned toward me and put his finger in my face and said, "If this guy hurts the President, Giuliani you're finished."
Meekly, and this is the moral of the story, I responded, "but it would be out of love."
I also remember the heart wrenching visit President Bush made to the families of our firefighters and police officers at the Javits Center.
I remember receiving all the help, assistance and support from the President and even more than we asked.
For that I will be eternally grateful to President Bush.
And I remember the support being bi-partisan and actually standing hand in hand Republicans and Democrats, here in New York and all over the nation.
During a Boston Red Sox game there was a sign held up saying Boston loves New York.
I saw a Chicago police officer sent here by Mayor Daley directing traffic in Manhattan.
I'm not sure where he sent the cars, they are probably still riding around the Bronx, but it was very reassuring to know how much support we had.
And as we look beyond this election and elections do accentuate differences let's make sure we rekindle that spirit that we are one one America united to end the threat of global terrorism.
Certainly, President Bush will keep us focused on that goal. When President Bush announced his commitment to ending global terrorism, he understood -- I understood, we all understood -- it was critical to remove the pillars of support for the global terrorist movement.
In any plan to destroy global terrorism, removing Saddam Hussein needed to be accomplished.
Frankly, I believed then and I believe now that Saddam Hussein, who supported global terrorism, slaughtered hundreds of thousands of his own people, permitted horrific atrocities against women, and used weapons of mass destruction, was himself a weapon of mass destruction.
But the reasons for removing Saddam Hussein were based on issues even broader than just the presence of weapons of mass destruction.
To liberate people, give them a chance for accountable, decent government and rid the world of a pillar of support for global terrorism is something for which all those involved from President Bush to the brave men and women of our armed forces should be proud.
President Bush has also focused on the correct long-term answer for the violence and hatred emerging from the Middle East. The hatred and anger in the Middle East arises from the lack of accountable governments.
Rather than trying to grant more freedom, create more income, improve education and basic health care, these governments deflect their own failures by pointing to America and Israel and other external scapegoats.
But blaming these scapegoats does not improve the life of a single person in the Arab world. It does not relieve the plight of even one woman in Iran.
It does not give a decent living to a single soul in Syria. It certainly does not stop the slaughter of African Christians in the Sudan.
The changes necessary in the Middle East involve encouraging accountable, lawful governments that can be role models.
This has also been an important part of the Bush Doctrine and the President's vision for the future.
Have faith in the power of freedom.
People who live in freedom always prevail over people who live in oppression. That's the story of the Old Testament. That's the story of World War II and the Cold War.
That's the story of the firefighters and police officers and rescue workers who courageously saved thousands of lives on September 11, 2001.
President Bush is the leader we need for the next four years because he sees beyond today and tomorrow. He has a vision of a peaceful Middle East and, therefore, a safer world. We will see an end to global terrorism. I can see it. I believe it. I know it will happen.
It may seem a long way off. It may even seem idealistic.
But it may not be as far away and idealistic as it seems.
Look how quickly the Berlin Wall was torn down, the Iron Curtain ripped open and the Soviet Union disintegrated because of the power of the pent-up demand for freedom.
When it catches hold, there is nothing more powerful than freedom. Give it some hope, and it will overwhelm dictators, and even defeat terrorists. That is what we have done and must continue to do in Iraq.
That is what the Republican Party does best when we are at our best, we extend freedom.
It's our mission. And it's the long-term answer to ending global terrorism. Governments that are free and accountable.
We have won many battles at home and abroad but, as President Bush told us on September 20, 2001, it will take a long-term determined effort to prevail.
The war on terrorism will not be won in a single battle. There will be no dramatic surrender. There will be no crumbling of a massive wall.
But we will know it. We'll know it as accountable governments continue to develop in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.
We'll know it as terrorist attacks throughout the world decrease and then end.
And then, God willing, we'll all be able, on a future anniversary of September 11th, to say to our fallen brothers and sisters, to our heroes of the worst attack in our history, and to our heroes who have sacrificed their lives in the war on terror....
We will say to them we have done all that we could with our lives that were spared to make your sacrifices build a world of real peace and true freedom.
We will make certain in the words of President Bush that they have heard from us.
That they have heard from us a message of peace through free, accountable, lawful and decent governments giving people hope for a future for themselves and their children.
God bless each one we have lost, here and abroad, and their families.
God bless all those defending our freedom.
God bless America.