Blueprints for National Service

Archive Report

What can be done for the Country?

Now the trumpet summons us again.” On an icy cold January day in 1961, President Kennedy urged his fellow Americans; “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” Within six weeks of his Inaugural Address, the new president signed an executive order establishing the Peace Corps. There was in America, Kennedy said on that occasion, “an immense reservoir” of men and women eager “to sacrifice their energies and time and toil to the cause of world peace and human progress.” Life in the Peace Corps would not be easy, he said, but it would he “rich and satisfying.” Thousands of young Americans agreed, and within six months the first groups ...

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