Thank you, John Kerry. Thank you for serving, thank you for leading, thank you for keeping alive the dream of the ultimate goodness of the American way. Of those duties that a leader may obligate to, the first duty of the American leader is to keep this dream alive. As this dream is passed on, it has always grown more powerful in its inspiration to make the real world more like that dream, a dream of justice for all, liberty denied none, and the rights of the common man honored as highly as the rights of the extraordinary.
That you did not win does not mean you are not the better leader, a strong and wise man, and that somehow this makes those who voted for you less satisfied and pleased to have done so. You make me remember that when the time came to tell this country that it had made a mistake, you saved the lives of men and women like myself, then draft age and unwilling to become conscientious objectors. We the very young who watched our older brothers and sisters go, and for those of us blessed by God to see them come home, there is the knowledge that the stories you told to Congress were truth. We knew the war had become something unwinnable because no matter how many battles we won, no matter how many Vietnamese and Americans died, there is no way to deny a country to the people who live in it without genocide. By understanding that the deepest oath of the officer is to protect the lives and liberty of the American people, you showed the true measure of the best of the American people, and the American soldier.
Understanding that you have obligations to your wife and family, to your friends, and to yourself, I nonetheless ask that you not do as other defeated Presidential candidates have done and step away from the platform. There are few times such as this when Americans so desperately need the leadership that only the very best of us can provide, and you are such an American. I and I think many others will be proud to work with you and with your wife to continue to keep the American dream alive. For this is the great treasure that we must pass to our children and this is the awesome promise we must keep to those who passed it to us.
Thank you, John Kerry. It is good to know you.