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New York Times photo by Emily Elconin/Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, addresses a campaign event in Toledo, Ohio, Monday.

America needs to be reunited, rebuilt, repaired and healed.

Joe Biden will be the president who can help us do it.

How do we know? We've seen it in Chattanooga.

The date was Aug. 15, 2015. On that Saturday, then-Vice President Biden was a nation's broken-hearted father speaking to this broken-hearted city and to the broken-hearted families of five servicemen who had died here the month before at the hands of what Biden called a "perverted jihadist."

Standing behind the lectern at McKenzie Arena and naming each of the five fallen servicemen, Biden said, "These are the men made of the stuff that makes this country the greatest country on earth. They're part of the less than 1 percent of the U.S. population that protects 99 percent of us. They are what makes us who we are. They are the backbone ... the virtual bone and sinew of this country. And in the face of dangers and threats, we look out for one another. We stand together. We never, never bow. We never, never bend ... These perverse ideologues, warped theocrats, they may be able to inspire a single lone wolf to commit a savage act, but they can never, never threaten who we are."

Then focusing his attention directly to the families, he said what only a man who has lost a spouse and children — including a son who had died of cancer in May — can say with true meaning.

"Nothing can replace the son who, as he walked away from you and turned and smiled at you and lit up your life. Literally lit up your life just smiling at you. ... And a husband who knew your fears even before you expressed them, whose gentle hand could soothe them away. The dad who tucked you in at night and touched your face and made you feel so secure. The brother who always, always, always had your back. ...

"But please know ... he'll be the voice you hear in your ear telling you 'that's OK.' He'll be that feeling in your chest that calms you down, that look from the mirror that gives you the confidence to move forward, and that sunset that says, 'I see you. I see you.'"

On that day just over five years ago, Vice President Joe Biden brought us to tears, dried our tears, then brought us to our feet in roaring determination to survive and stand tall.

We believe he can do it again for the whole country.

Especially now. Especially after four years of Donald Trump's savage mockery of everything good in our nation — including living and dead veterans whom he has termed "not heroes," and "suckers" and "losers."

But that's just one strike against Trump. At any given moment when he might have brought this country together with even just a hint of Biden's grace, Trump instead tore it apart.

He stoked racial strife, from the moment he announced his campaign and maligned Mexicans to a debate when he refused to condemn white supremacy, instead sending coded appeals to embolden supremacists and so-called militias — even saying "stand down and stand by" just as he all but promised to refuse a peaceful transfer of power when he loses the election.

Trump has rejected and denigrated science and American institutions, losing hundreds of thousands of lives in the fight against COVID-19 and throwing away four years of valuable time to fight climate change.

Trump continues trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without a scintilla of the much-promised replacement plan even amid this growing pandemic. Worse, early on in the pandemic, with his lack of leadership and insistence on taking "no responsibility," Trump turned states against one other to scramble for basic resources like tests, masks and ventilators.

All the while, he pushed Congress to give the wealthiest Americans an unneeded tax break, raising the country's debt. He created trade wars and roiled foreign relationships.

Trump never released his tax returns, but someone did. The returns show two important things: A pattern of tax dodging and the new Washington "swamp" he built rather than drain to line his and supporters' pockets with government dollars.

Biden is a man of character who offers a better and decent way. He vows "to restore the soul of America." And with his steadiness, experience, compassion and values, we think he can deliver.

He will foster respect for science and medicine. He will return expertise — not lobbyists and lackeys — to government agencies. He will embrace, not thwart, the rule of law. He will mend fences with allies and isolate, not coddle, foreign adversaries that undermine our democracy. He will (and has) unequivocally condemn white supremacists. He will bring back the "great" to America that Trump has sullied.

Biden has a real plan for health care that builds on the Affordable Care Act and works toward viable universal health care, lowering the age for Medicare eligibility to 60 and cutting the cost of prescription drugs. He will protect Social Security.

Biden has a real plan for fighting climate change with a $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure program to slash carbon emissions, invest in alternative energy, fight environmental racism and green the economy.

And Biden has demonstrated an ability to pull off these kinds of bold ideas — sorely needed as we face a plethora of crises: the growing deadly pandemic, the economic crash it produced, racial unrest, public distrust of all things government and rapidly rising national debt, just to name a handful.

For starters, he's a moderate with a knack for helping his colleagues on the hill and Americans in crisis find common ground.

With 40 years of Senate experience, more than three decades of Senate Foreign Relations Committee service, and the VP shepherding of foreign and domestic diplomatic missions for Barack Obama, Biden knows Washington and the world.

Perhaps best of all, there doesn't appear to be a narcissistic bone in his body. In fact, his generosity to the future shines in his choice of California Sen. Kamala Harris as a running mate. Harris is a woman, a Black person, an Asian American. And she is a smart former prosecutor who is both tough and likeable, progressive but not radical, and a bridge to the party's rising younger generation of leaders.

Biden is a man of character. We endorse him as the next president of the United States. We believe he is the uniter, the rebuilder, the repairman and the healer America so desperately needs now.

Please vote for Biden/Harris when you cast your ballot.

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