Sean Parnell, an Army veteran and Pennsylvania congressional candidate, spoke on the first night of the Republican National Convention on Aug. 24, 2020.
I’m Sean Parnell, and it is an honor to be here. In 2006, the army sent me to Afghanistan as a young platoon leader placed in command of Americans from every corner of our planet. Our platoon reflected the diversity of our nation, every race, creed, and religion. Despite those differences, we were bound together as brothers from the same American family. On June 10th, 2006, our platoon was attacked just after dawn. Outnumbered, 10 to one, we endured mortar and machine gunfire as hundreds of Taliban charged us from three sides. We had 24 men that day. Wave after wave of Taliban advanced up the hill. I was wounded three times in the fighting. Nearly all of my platoon was wounded within the first minute, but the enemy kept coming. We fought to our last rounds of ammunition and when it was over, we held the hill.
In the face of death, I saw ordinary Americans become heroes. In our darkest hour, when our survival depended on each other, my men and I learned an important lesson. We all bleed red. Our differences did not define us. United, we were unbeatable. After 485 days of combat, I came home eager to enjoy the freedoms I risked my life to defend. But I watched with alarm as the party of my grandfather, a life long union Democrat, turned against the very people it professed to represent. I watched as Joe Biden spit venom at an auto worker who dared to question Joe’s intent to dismantle the second amendment and take your guns. Where Democrats one stood for hardworking law, abiding Americans who displayed our flag with pride, this new Democrat party considers these people uneducated racists clinging to guns and bibles. The party of Harry Truman became the party of hedge fund managers, Hollywood celebrities, tech, moguls, and university professors, all bloated with contempt for middle America.
I look across the aisle and I do not see a party that wants you to pursue your dreams. I see a Democrat party that wants to dictate what those dreams are. I don’t see a party that wants you to be free. I see a party that wants to chain you to conformity and will destroy anyone they deem a heretic. I swore an oath to defend my country and its constitution. President Trump has sworn to do the same. That’s why he’s advanced freedom, despite savage political attacks to overcome the agenda of the radical left. President Trump has unleashed the economic might of this nation like no other president in our history. He triggered the rising tide of working families, brought us energy independence, reclaimed jobs from overseas that Democrats said would never return. He has fiercely defended the besieged first and second amendment. That is just to start.
With four more years, imagine what we can achieve by simply working with our president. I believe in our president’s vision for the future. I stand here tonight, calling on all Americans to join us. It doesn’t matter what you look like, who you love, how you worship your gender or your job. If you’re a traditional Democrat who’s become disillusioned with how radical your party has become, then stand with us. You are most welcome. America needs all her patriots to rush to her defense. My fellow Americans, I promise you this, in our tent, you are free. Free to speak the truth. Choose your journey, define your life. You have the power to go as far as you aim, then aim higher and keep going because that is what Americans do. We are idealists and dreamers, lovers of adventure. We’re rugged and independent. We don’t make excuses. We make the impossible a reality.
Think about it. In a century, we went from ground bound dreamers gazing to the stars, to doers who created the means to reach them. This is not the time to stand on the sidelines. If you love our country as we do, as our president does, join the chorus of patriot voices that will preserve this exceptional union. Mr. President, lead the way. Millions in our American family believe in this path to destiny. Guide us to that horizon. Thank you, and may God bless the United States of America.