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August 31, 2004

Day Seven: Bruce Roemmelt on the DNC Bus

Sorry for the slight time delay here... but the realities of life and travel are not always going to match the realtime hunger of a Blog. Thanks so much, Bruce, for everything you've been doing!

Blog Day 7


That's right a week on the bus! Wow. I can't believe that it's nearly over. I've been asked to stay over a day to do some media in NYC so I'll actually have 8 days, but we ended up in NYC at city hall for a three pm press conference.

They fed us in city hall and then we went outside for the media event. I was pretty nervous about my speech and especially nervous about the fact that they wanted me to introduce Senator Chuck Schumer. I thought I would print what I said. The only part that doesn't work well on a blog was the part where I really choked up telling my wheelchair ramp story, but my friends on the tour got me through it. So here's my speech:

I'm Bruce Roemmelt and I'm from Haymarket VA.

I'm honored to be on this bus supporting John Kerry and John Edwards, and I'm proud to be with all 70 of these real people. I've been selected to speak for us all this afternoon as we end the tour. WOW. This is heavy.

I've been on the 'America Can Do Better' bus tour since we started in Newport News VA 6 days ago.

I wanted to represent the fire fighters and vets on this trip.

I'm a retired fire fighter - but still active in our union

I'll be honored to stand tomorrow with our General President Harold Schaitberger of the IAFF at a homeland security news conference tomorrow.

But the thing that got me most to go on the tour is the event at home next weekend. Our local is going to be building a wheelchair ramp for an Iraq vet who has lost both legs and could not get a grant from the VA to make his house accessible.

What kind of a country treats its vets like this?

I thought we learned some lessons from Vietnam.

I guess the current administration has unlearned them.

So our bus has traveled nearly 2000 miles. Along our way, through the battleground states of Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, we picked up real people with real stories.

After talking to these people, I had an idea. An idea that we could do an electronic diary for the trip that could be posted on the internet.

I started collecting "profiles" Who are you? Why are you on the bus? What issues are you concerned about?

While writing each nite I got more and more drawn into the stories. And then I started to get protective of the job.

I realized how important this diary was.

There are 70 of us on the bus and we all have powerful stories to tell. About us, our family our friends our neighbors.

The Terror Story...one of our senior citizens (WWII vet, worked for 46 years, struggling) told this story in a "profile" on the road. "...the president talks about fighting terror but he doesn't even know what real terror is. He needs to come to my house monthly and watch my wife and I try to choose what we will pay for during the month - shelter, food or medicines! That's real terror. When you have to have a conversation with your doctor about which of all the pills you are prescribed is the MOST important to take because you can't afford to buy them all - that's real terror!"

They all told of what America has become, but...

They also talked about how America Can Do Better

This bus is filled with hopes and dreams - not just for us, but for all Americans, young and old.

After talking to people and typing up their stories each night I became more than the vet and fire fighter who joined this trip.

I became a doctor and a nurse

A fire fighter and medic

A vet and a protester.

A teacher and a student

I'm a mill worker, a steel worker, a plumber and an electrician. I'm in the mines and a laborer above ground.

I'm a parent and a child. I'm a grandparent and a sibling. I'm a spouse and significant other.

I'm a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, and I'm also one who has checked no box

I'm a Democrat I'm green, and I'm even a republican.

I'm all of these things and I believe America Can Do Better.

I'm employed, I'm unemployed, I'm locked out and I'm locked in.

I have a house, I lost a house, and I'm homeless.

I'm all these things and I'm an American

I believe that America Can Do Better

I believe that even more since I've been with these new friends for the past week.

We are going to help John Kerry and John Edwards prove that America Can Do Better.

Americans like us are going to show that real people can take our great land back

There is so much more to do, and we're just the real people to do it.

Now it is my honor to introduce the senator from the great state of new your, Chuck Schumer.

He is a friend for sure to fire fighters. He has worked tirelessly to get first responder funds back in the budget - funds cut by the administration.

He is to me a Rock Star democrat.

I have a fire fighter shirt to give him. I wore it yesterday. It's much like our real people. It's made in America, washable, and the colors don't run.

Ladies and gentlemen, Chuck Schumer

Tomorrow I will be at the DNC Response a few blocks south of the republican convention, and then home on Monday night. I'm really tired now so I'll post more tomorrow.


Posted by bruce roemmelt at August 31, 2004 12:19 PM

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Great speech Bruce, Thanks for all your
great work. We all want to thank you!

Posted by: Robert FAITH at September 2, 2004 12:48 PM