Last Thursday I took the morning off from work to attend Senator Kerry’s rally with PA-08 Democratic Congressional candidate and Iraq war veteran Patrick Murphy, along with a few hundred other lucky and very excited people. It was a cold windy morning outside on the Student Center Terrace of Bucks County Community College in Newtown, PA but it sure didn’t cool off the crowd’s spirits!
The “Rally for Change” started about an hour late waiting for the Senator to arrive. Originally I’d thought that they were probably delayed in the same traffic I was when taking the Newtown exit off 95 South. It took me about 45 minutes to make it 2 miles through road construction. (Later during the speeches I saw Marvin and stopped over to say hello and he said that actually the traffic in Pittsburgh is what did them in).
As soon as Patrick returned from Iraq and left active duty he focused his energy volunteering for JK’s 2004 presidential campaign. That’s how I first met Patrick and was very impressed by this sincere, patriotic and intelligent young man, who was very concerned with the direction those in power had taken our country, both internationally and domestically.
After being introduced Patrick said to Senator Kerry, ”I was proud to defend you then and I’m proud that you’re here to defend me today.”
Patrick noted that he was an alumnus of Bucks County Community College, which got a big cheer from all the students in attendance.
Patrick had been serving as a constitutional law professor at West Point teaching our future military leaders when on 9/12/01 he said he requested to be transferred to a combat unit. Patrick’s first deployment in 2002 was to Bosnia. Where as Patrick pointed out, we didn’t suffer one combat death. He said why was that? Because President Clinton listened to HIS military experts!
His second deployment was to Baghdad, Iraq in 2003-2004 as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. Patrick spoke about being in convoys in the lead Humvee that not only didn’t have armor, it didn’t even have any doors!
At one point Patrick reminded the crowd that he swore an oath that “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Which as I mentioned in my comment on the John Kerry blog, I could tell were certainly not mere words to him when I first heard him speak in October 2004.
JK noted that the attacks on Patrick are the closest that Mike Fitzpatrick has ever come to combat and said that he’s sick of all these Republicans who ‘think they’ve served because they played with G.I. dolls. He said GOP attacks on Patrick’s military and legal credentials are like Jessica Simpson attacking Albert Einstein’s IQ.
JK said of the GOP Congress, we need to sweep out the lies, sweep out the corruption and we need to sweep that house clean. He also noted that the out of control Republican Congress has squandered billions in a surplus left by President Clinton into trillions in deficit in the Bush administration. “Spent on bullshit” somebody in crowd shouted out. JK responded that he couldn’t have said it better himself. Both statements got rousing cheers from the crowd.
At one point somebody yelled out to JK “2008” and a big cheer erupted from the crowd again! 🙂
After JK was finished speaking he asked the veterans in attendance to raise their hands. A lot of hands shot up in the crowd. JK then said, “we’re coming down to chat” and both the Senator and Patrick plunged into the crowd to chat and sign autographs for quite a while.
Below are a couple of old pictures I took of Patrick during John Kerry’s 2004 campaign.
The first one is from the first time I met Patrick, a few weeks after he returned from Iraq when he spoke at our “Unity Concert” fundraiser that I’d helped some great folks in Bucks County put on in Newtown, PA on 10/1/04 .
The next one was taken at a wreath laying ceremony and NJ/PA Veteran’s for Kerry rally on 10/17/04.
Oh by the way, the veteran on the right in the picture above was from the Purple Heart Society. To put it mildly, let’s just say he was NOT pleased AT ALL about the Bush supporters wearing purple heart band-aids at the 2004 RNC Convention.