2004: I'm John Kerry, and I'm reporting for duty.
1971: I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.
2004: I am accompanied by an extraordinary band of brothers led by that American hero, a patriot called Max Cleland.
Our band of brothers doesn't march together because of who we are as veterans, but because of what we learned as soldiers.
We fought for this nation because we loved it, and we came back with the deep belief that every day is extra. We may be a little older, we may be a little grayer, but we still know how to fight for our country.
1971: …they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam…
2004: I know what kids go through when they're carrying an M-16 in a dangerous place, and they can't tell friend from foe. I know what they go through when they're out on patrol at night and they don't know what's coming around the next bend. I know what it's like to write letters home telling your family that everything's all right, when you're not sure that that's true.
1971: I would like to talk to you a little bit about what the result is of the feelings these men carry with them after coming back from Vietnam. The country doesn't know it yet, but it has created a monster, a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence, and who are given the chance to die for the biggest nothing in history; men who have returned with a sense of anger and a sense of betrayal which no one has yet grasped.
2004: I learned a lot about these values on that gunboat patrolling the Mekong Delta with Americans -- you saw them -- who come from places as different as Iowa and Oregon, Arkansas, Florida, California.
No one cared where we went to school. No one cared about our race or our backgrounds. We were literally all in the same boat. We looked out, one for the other, and we still do.
1971: …we are ashamed of and hated what we were called on to do in Southeast Asia.
2004: I defended this country as a young man…
1971: In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam, nothing which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America.