"A Remarkable Promise"
Nine-minute biographical film shown at the Democratic National Convention in advance of Sen. Kerry's speech on July 29, 2004.
Directed by James Moll (described as a protege of and recommended by Steven Spielberg; best known for directing "The Last Days" (1999)).  Narrated by Actor Morgan Freeman.

[Opens with a series of voiceovers while a montage of images is shown].

John Kerry saved my life; I'm forever grateful.

He really cares about fairness.

I respect him.

He's got a big heart.

He's a tough customer.

John's got a very deep sense of family.

[Title; music swells]

Narrator: John Kerry was born at Fitzsimmons Military Hospital in Colorado in December of 1943.  The world was at war and the Kerry family, like millions of others, was woven into the very fabric of the war effort.  John's father, Richard, was a test pilot, flying C47s in the Army Air Corps.  His mother, Rosemary, was a community leader who also dedicated herself to raising her children.

Diana Kerry, John's Sister: John was a good big brother.  He was somebody who looked out for the rest of us but also set a pace that was exciting to try and keep up with.  [1:00]

Narrator: The family made their home in Massachusetts and then later in Washington, DC.  John's father became a diplomat overseas.

John Kerry: He loved languages; he enjoyed cultures and history.  My mother was 50 years a Girl Scout leader and was incredibly proud of the pin she got for those 50 years of service.  She was my den mother as a Cub Scout, and they both just gave back, and I think their example of citizenship really had a profound impact on the  whole family.

[Music tempo changes]

Narrator: In high school John's height shot up to 6'4, quickly making him a top weapon on the hockey and lacrosse teams.  His young mind blossomed, finding many interests including joining a rock band called the Electras.

John Kerry: You know it was a great way to meet girls.  Made a little record.  [2:00]

Alexandra and Vanessa Kerry [Vanessa talking]: [inaudible] your dad's old haircut and he was like yeah I was in a rock band.  He played it for us.  And Alex and I were like okay, it's okay; you know we were trying to get into it.

John Kerry: There's talk of a reunion.

[Music tempo changes]

Narrator: In 1962 John was accepted at Yale.

David Thorne, Friend Since College: I was really struck by his commitment to what he wanted to be.  He wanted to be in public life.  He wanted to be in public service.

Narrator: Talk on campus focused increasingly of course on Vietnam.  John Kerry was one of those who chose to serve.

Cameron Kerry, John's Brother: One of the things that John got from my parents was the strong sense of duty.  And it just, it was what you do, and you didn't shirk the service. 

Narrator: He entered the Navy in 1966 and requested deployment to Vietnam.  [3:00]

John Kerry: I was skipper of what's called a swift boad, which is about a 50-foot gun boat.

David Alston, Vietnam Veteran: John placed his life on the line right alongside us.  Going into battle knowing that this man was willing to take a bullet, make you respect him.

Jim Rassmann, Vietnam Veteran
: We got sent up these narrow canals with folliage up to the banks on both side; plenty of places for people to hide.

Gene Thorson, Vietnam Veteran: He was always under pressure.  After a while this takes a toll on a person.  How are you going to come back?

John Kerry: There's a great similarity to what some of the guys in Iraq and Afghanistan are going through now, the kind of patrols you go out on, you're waiting, you hold your breath, you think you're going to be ambushed.

Rassmann: We had gone up a canal and the boat to our left hit a mine; simultaneously we came under fire from both banks.  [4:00]  John was wounded and I was blown off the boat into the water.  By the time I surfaced the boats were gone and I was all by myself.  John turned around; all of them came back for me.  I grabbed a hold of the net and started climbing upside down and couldn't get over the lip of the bow.  I was just hanging there and all these rounds kept coming in, and John ran up and dropped down on his hands and knees and pulled me over.  And had he not come out on that bow like that I'd be dead.

Narrator: For this John received the Bronze Star.  He was also decorated with the Silver Star for gallantry and three Purple Hearts for wounds he sustained.

John Kerry: I am alive today through the grace of a higher being.  Every day is extra.  And that reassures you in taking on a risk or in standing up for the truth [5:00] or in doing something that's difficult.  I at that point had come back against the war.  I felt that the government had not been truthful with the American people.  I felt that the war was not what it was described as, and so I felt a great sense of waste and loss.  I became a activist, putting my passion into ending the war.

Narrator: As a 27-year old newlywed John delivered a powerful argument before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Cameron Kerry: He just talked in stark terms from the heart.

John Kerry [clip from April 22, 1971]: Where are the leaders of our country?  Where...

Rassmann: He said things that a lot of us were feeling.

John Kerry [clip continues]: ...These are commanders who have deserted their troops...

Rassmann: We knew by this time that the war was a mistake.  John was the one with the courage to come out and say it.

Narrator: His service behind him, John turned his attention to the home front.  [6:00] 
He enrolled in Boston College Law School, and after graduation found a new mision.

Thorne: There's another part of John which is the tough prosecutorial side too.  He was a tough prosecutor.  He went after white collar crime with a vengeance.  It's part of his competitive nature to go get the bad guys.

Narrator: In 1984 John was elected junior Senator of Massachusetts.  He was to become known as a foreign policy expert.  Working closely with members of both parties he put America's needs before politics.  As John pursued these important issues, he made a practice of commuting home on weekends to be with his daughters, determined to remain a good father even as he worked hard to become a good Senator.

Alexandra Kerry: It's funny, you always hear about these stories about politicians who don't have time for their families.  And I have never really understood that because my dad made time for us.  [7:00]

John Kerry: I cried like a baby when they were born, both of them.  Being in a room while a child is being born and you're not sure, wow, where's the breathing, you know, and is it up or is it down and you're just kind of following it--it's a miracle.

Narrator: In 1995 he married Teresa Heinz, widow of Republican Senator John Heinz.  Teresa came to the marriage with three sons and like so many other Americans, John and Teresa have worked hard to make a success of their new blended family.

John Kerry: Teresa is bedrock.  She's as straightforward and as direct and as honest as anybody that I've ever met.

Teresa Heinz Kerry: He comes in; if he's late, he's late--it's my husband who's late.  [Kerry laughs].  And if he's tired, he's tired, and if I'm grouchy, I'm grouchy, you know and drive him crazy too.  I was born in Africa, and being an American to me is something that I've earned and I became.  [8:00]  Being an American is something that I have to work every day to deserve.  It's freedom and rights that so many people in the world can only even dream of.

Narrator: As a husband, father, soldier and Senator, John Kerry has spent a lifetime helping others achieve this incomparable American dream.

John Kerry: I decided to run for president because I was frustrated.  I'm confident I can make America safer and I want it safer, for my kids, for the world, for the future.  My promise is to lead our country, to bring people together and take us to a better place.

Narrator: Time and again John Kerry has been there for our nation.  A soldier who understands the importance of peace.  A leader who knows how to listen.  A father dedicated to the children of our nation.  A man devoted to our country's remarkable promise.

[Music swells]