Delegates waved red and blue signs reading "Service" and "Country First" throughout the speeches given by war veterans, community organizers and first-response personnel.
"John McCain's life is a story of service above self," President George Bush told the audience via satellite from the White House. "No matter what the issue, this man is honest and speaks straight from the heart."
The convention had a full evening of speeches and video presentations Tuesday after an abbreviated business session Monday. Videos of Republican presidents such as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan were interspersed with speeches about service. Periodically flashed on the screen behind the stage were several Web sites for donating to Hurricane Gustav relief efforts.
"John McCain doesn't speak the language of service, John McCain has lived the life of service," said Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. "America needs John McCain's service in the White House."
"In Minnesota we know that big things start small," said Minnesota's senior Sen. Norm Coleman, a one-time St. Paul mayor. "From this gathering here, we'll show America a bright future, and we'll paint the entire Mississippi watershed John McCain red and we'll win the White House."