Text of Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley's Address to the Democratic National Convention
FDCH E-Media, Inc.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004; 8:22 PM
The text of Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley's address to the Democratic National Convention in the FleetCenter in Boston, Mass.
O'MALLEY: Thank you very much, Wellington Webb (ph).
And thank you, Maryland, for that very warm welcome. And thank you, Mayor Menino, and the people of Boston for taking for care of us and keeping us safe.
In 1962, this city's native son, President John Kennedy, reminded our nation that others may confine themselves to debate, discussion and that ultimate luxury, free advice. But our responsibility is one of decision, for to govern is to choose.
My fellow Americans, today we face a threat unimagined in Kennedy's time, the menace of global terrorism and the further loss of American lives on American soil.
As we confront this threat to our security and to our well-being, we must choose again. We must choose, knowing the country we leave our children will depend on it. We must choose to invest in a safer America. We must choose to build a stronger America. And we must choose a new president who is up to the challenge of this mission, a new president who will lead us in providing for the common defense no matter the sacrifice.
And that new president is John Kerry.
O'MALLEY: Sadly and unforgivably almost three years after that fateful day when thousands of moms and dads, sons and daughters didn't come from work on September 11th, America's cities and towns, America's ports and borders and America's heartland remain needlessly vulnerable.
Three years later, our first responders still don't have the communications technology and the intelligence they need to prevent or respond to another terrorist attack.
Where is the urgency, Mr. President, when three years our firefighters and police officers from New York to Los Angeles, from Pittsburgh to St. Louis to Miami still lack the funds to keep our families safe and still don't have the protective gear they need to save American lives?
Ask America's mayors. Ask America's firefighters and police officers on the frontlines, right here at home. When citizens dial 911, it's a local call.
O'MALLEY: The phone doesn't ring at the White House.
When one of America's fire or police heroes sacrifices their life in the line of duty, who rushes to the hospital to comfort the grieving spouse?
When a folded flag is presented to the young son or daughter who will never see their mom or dad again, who is at the graveside?
It's your fire chief. It's your police commissioner. It's your mayor. This is our duty. And we do it proudly. And we can do it well, but not without the support of our federal government.
We need a president who will stand with America's cities, with our firefighters, with our police officers and with our families.
We need a president who will make America strong at home. We need John Kerry.
O'MALLEY: On September 11th, 1814, as Washington burned to our south during the War of 1812, the people of Baltimore -- 60 percent of us immigrants, one out of five of us free black citizens of a still as yet very imperfect country -- successfully defended the United States of America on our own.
It was an amazing America feat in a distant war. But 200 years later, in the war against terrorism, one city cannot do it alone.
My friends, John Kerry knows we cannot fund America's homeland security on local property taxes and fire hall bingos.
John Kerry understands that if graffiti vandals can still walk right up to rail cars carrying hazardous materials through our communities, then terrorists can attack those same rail cars just as easily.
John Kerry recognizes that if the deadly foreign chemical attacks of cocaine and heroin can still flow unchecked through our ports and borders, then biological and chemical weapons can be smuggled through those same unprotected ports and borders just as easily.
And that is why as president, John Kerry will take the steps necessary to make America stronger and our neighborhoods safer.
O'MALLEY: John Kerry will lead the long stalled effort to improve America's homeland security, not with empty words and rhetoric, but with action and with funding. John Kerry will eliminate the shameful backlog of communications and protective equipment for our fire and police first responders.
He will make the tough choices necessary to secure our ports and borders. And John Kerry will lead us in this important mission while reclaiming and reviving the true American values of service and sacrifice. For John Kerry believes deeply in the basic beautiful American truth that we are not a selfish or greedy people, that for every right we treasure, there is a duty we must discharge.
And my friends, in the war against terrorism, duty most certainly calls.
My friends, for this generation of Americans to have a rendezvous with destiny, we must choose. We must choose to build a stronger America. We must choose to defend the brave and generous America that our parents and our grandparents were courageous to choose for us.
O'MALLEY: America the beautiful, whose alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tears; oh, my friends, to govern is to choose.
And at this hour, the man and the mission have met. The mission is America's security. The man is here. And the choice is ours.
Come November, we choose America's security. Come November, we choose the man who bravely answered his country's call to service before and is prepared to answer that call for us now.
We choose the right president for these times, the right president fore the United States, and the next president of the United States. We choose John Kerry, John Kerry, John Kerry.
© 2004 FDCH E-Media