As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans - Democrats and Republicans - have built, and we are here to restore that legacy. But this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure.
And yet, I know that, on this night, they look down on me with great pride. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years.
But I also get the sense that there's a hunger that's deeper than that - a hunger that goes beyond any single cause or issue. These challenges are not all of government's making. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. We also know that military power alone is not going to solve the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
And as I listened to him explain why he'd enlisted, the absolute faith he had in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service, I thought this young man was all that any of us might hope for in a child. These are some of the challenges that test our conscience - as Americans and people of faith. But what we know - what we have seen - is that America can change. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. It is easier to start wars than to end them.
I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper. Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.
Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.