I was surfing YouTube and found the following video of two Peace Corp volunteers in Zambia.  I am very encouraged when reading the stories of the tens of thousands of men and women doing volunteer work.

The US Peace Corp was officially started by President John F. Kennedy in March 1, 1961.   President Kennedy saw the Peace Corp as a means of countering the notions of the “Ugly American” and “Yankee imperialism” in the emerging nations of post-colonial Africa and Asia.

President Richard Nixon, an opponent of the program, brought the Corp under tighter government restrictions.  Than in 1979 President Jimmy Carter, whose mother had served in the Corp, calling it one of the most glorious experience of her life, made it fully autonomous.

Funding cuts under the Regan Administration reduce the Corp to it’s lowest level.  However after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 (has it really been almost 8 years ago?) , and the realization of the extent of anti-American hatred in the middle east, President Bush doubled the funding for the program.

One interesting fact about volunteers is that the number over 50 years of age has increased from 1% to 6%.  Age is seen as an asset, not a barrier, and married couples are welcomed to work together.

The Peace Corp web site – http://www.peacecorps.gov/

I believe every American man and woman should be required to serve their country for two years.  They could select any two year period between the ages of 18 to 24.  They could choose either the armed services or an agency like the Peace Corp.   Working with a volunteer program like Missionary work would also qualify.  I don’t see two years as too onerous a sacrifice.

What do you think?

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