Thirteen years ago, on a bright April morning in 1995, Oklahoma City was attacked by domestic terrorists.
We lost 168 of our friends and neighbors.
But we also witnessed the greatness of the American community.
I was at ground zero that day as Oklahoma's Lieutenant Governor.
As our beautiful memorial reads, I came away "changed forever."
We coined a name for a lesson that grew out of Oklahoma City.
We called it the "Oklahoma Standard," but it is really the American Standard.
It's the extraordinary ability of the American people to unite in the face of overwhelming adversity and be stronger for it.
Moments after the bomb, people rushed to help. Help came from up the street, across the city, and from every state in our union.
Many came from New York -- some of those same first responders gave their lives years later at the World Trade Center.
They gave their sweat and time, and some gave their blood.
Most of all they gave their love.
As the smoke and rubble cleared, I saw the volunteers who stood in the rain to help feed a hungry rescuer... The teddy bears tied to a fence in memory of a lost child... The barbers who set up shop to give free haircuts to weary firefighters and police officers... The man who donated a pair of work boots one night... and drove away barefoot.
We saw the same sacrifice and selflessness years later when an entire nation rallied behind the families that lost loved ones in the tragedy of 9/11. Our American standard embodies the spirit of free people who will not be cowed by terror, and who stand together with courage and resolve.
It embodies the spirit of John McCain.
The American people have in John McCain a leader who doesn't just understand that spirit.
He has lived it.
The events of 1995 are passing into history, but we Oklahomans remember.
We remember the lost, and we remember the greatness of this country, even in the face of the most heartbreaking tragedies.
Our nation has learned some hard lessons, but they are lessons that anyone who proposes to serve as our president must understand.
We cannot afford a president who thinks you can negotiate with evil.
Talk, yes... but remember Teddy Roosevelt's big stick. Strong leaders like John McCain know that evil must be confronted if free societies are to remain free. He knows that government's most important task is to do everything it can to ensure the safety and security of its citizens.
Ask yourself tonight, America - who do you trust to defend your children against the haters and killers whose only creed is evil?
You can trust John McCain.
Goodness can defeat evil, but it takes strength, courage and an unwavering commitment to enduring peace. It takes character to put country first.
And it takes a man like John McCain.
From Oklahoma, thank you all for your hope, your prayers and your love.