2008 Democratic National Convention: Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Scott...

2008 Democratic National Convention: Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Scott Gration, Air Force Major General (Ret.), Accompanied by Additional Generals



DENVER, Aug. 28 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The following is a transcript of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by Scott Gration, Air Force Major General (Ret.), accompanied by additional Generals at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, August 28, 2008:

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Scheduled for delivery: August 28, 2008 – 7:00-8:00 pm MT


Major General Scott Gration (USAF, Ret.)

Democratic National Convention

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

I’m honored to share the stage with those who have served our country with distinction, officers who share my pride and appreciation for our men and women in uniform and their families, veterans who share my commitment to making Barack Obama our commander-in-chief.

I know this stadium is filled with many veterans who have sacrificed for our country. I’d like to ask everyone who has worn the uniform of the United States to please stand and be recognized. Join me in a round of applause in appreciation for their service.

Thank you.

Before I go any further, I have a confession to make: until recently, I was a Republican. But you’ll be happy to know that I’m looking forward to voting for Barack Obama in November.

Let me tell you about the journey that led me to Mile High. I moved to Congo when I was a year old. My parents were missionary teachers. The first words I learned were in Swahili. My family had to be evacuated and we ended up as refugees. So I learned at an early age to value freedom and the ideals of America.

I am proud to have served in the United States Air Force for over three decades. I’ve served in combat with many who are here tonight. We know what America needs in our next commander-in-chief.

In 2005, I was director of strategy, plans, and policy at United States European Command. That’s when I met a leader unlike any I had met before. That’s when I met Barack Obama.

Senator Obama wanted to know what the military was doing in Europe, Eurasia, and Africa and he wanted to know why we were doing it. He asked tough questions, and he didn’t settle for easy answers. It was this same way of thinking that led him to get it right, when he opposed the war in Iraq, when he warned of its consequences. That’s the judgment of a leader.

In 2006, I went with Senator Obama to Africa, and experienced firsthand the leadership that America needs. In the shadow of Nelson Mandela’s prison cell, I saw a leader with the understanding to build new bridges over old divides. That leader is Barack Obama. In Nairobi, I saw a leader with the courage to confront corruption directly with the president of Kenya. In Chad, I saw a leader who listened to the stories of refugees from Darfur – a leader committed to end that genocide. In Djibouti, I saw a leader who relaxed with our troops on the basketball court, who won their respect and admiration in discussions around the dinner table, and who appreciates their service.

That leader is Barack Obama. Leadership does matter. And we can’t afford four more years of more of the same.

When I consider who should be commander-in-chief, I ask four questions.

First, who has the judgment to make the right decisions about when to use force? In his words of caution before the invasion of Iraq, and in his consistent calls for more force against al-Qaida and the Taliban, Barack Obama

has shown the judgment to lead.

Second, who grasps the complex threats of the 21st century? Barack Obama understands these challenges. He has a strategy to use all elements of our power to keep America safe.

Third, who has the integrity, vision, values, and patriotism to inspire Americans to serve? I have seen firsthand this man’s capacity to inspire. It is second to none. I know he will inspire a new generation of Americans to

serve our country.

And fourth, who has the dedication to take care of our wounded warriors, veterans, and military families? Barack Obama is a friend of our military. He improved care for wounded warriors. He fought to make disability payments fair. He took on the battle against homelessness among our veterans. As president, he will fully fund the VA and make it more effective.

This grandson of a soldier who marched in Patton’s army understands America’s sacred trust with those who serve. He will keep it as our commander-in-chief. Yes, leadership does matter. Our men and women in uniform perform superbly around the globe. We need a commander-in-chief who respects them as our most precious resource.

I cannot forget that night in 1996 when terrorists attacked our barracks at Khobar Towers. Nurses and doctors worked frantically to save lives. I remember seeing a para-rescue crewman putting stitches in a patient while a friend held a compress on the corpsman’s forehead to stop his bleeding. Our men and women at Khobar towers made me proud to be in the military, proud to be an American. Nineteen men died that night. Eighteen of them worked for me. It was a poignant reminder that “life itself is a gift,” and no, freedom is not free.

I have served under six commanders-in-chief. My journey led me here because I know that leadership does matter. That is why I am enthusiastically supporting Barack Obama to be our next president. He is the leader our military needs. He is the leader our country needs.

Thank you, and may God bless America.

2008 Democratic National Convention: Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Scott Gration, Air Force Major General (Ret.), Accompanied by Additional Generals