Taylor-Parker_Peace-CorpsExecutive Order #10924 was one of President John F. Kennedy’s better ideas, and on March 1, 1961, he mobilized America’s first peaceful army, making today


Kennedy first proposed the Peace Corps as a Congressman in 1951, calling for an “army of missionaries for Democracy.” The idea was batted around Washington for 10 years until JFK made it a part of his campaign platform, and delivered upon his promise almost immediately, the reason for his famous inauguration speech declaration: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.

What 235,000 volunteers in 141 nations have done for their country and the greater world since then is to bring literacy and sustenance as well as medical, engineering and agricultural skills to developing nations across the globe. Here’s how it works: College graduates train for 3 months, then serve for 1 or 2 years teaching, building and serving, bringing modern technology to nations mired in poverty, disease and illiteracy.

The Peace Corps, among other successes, virtually eliminated malaria in Africa and turned barren fields into life-sustaining farms in many regions long plagued by famine and starvation. These days, Peace Corp Volunteers are working in 68 countries. There is still much work be done in this hungry world, and a greater need than ever for the Peace Corps. Johnny, we hardly knew ye.

•Suggested Activities: Declaring peace and sending in the teachers.

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