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jfk

Answering the Call to Service

President Kennedy in the Oval Office.  (Cecil Stoughton photograph)

What was President Kennedy's greatest accomplishment? A good case certainly can be made for avoiding a devastating nuclear war in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, but his call to service has to be right up there.  During one of yesterday's JFK remembrances on WBUR, I was reminded of the role University of Michigan students played translating JFK's rhetorical call to service into the establishment of the Peace Corps. As described on this Michigan website, when JFK asked who among the students would be interested in serving, over 1,000 students eagerly responded by signing a petition calling for the creation of the Peace Corps; a name they suggested. Pretty powerful example of how JFK's idealistic speeches moved people into concrete action. Today, over 210,000 have served abroad in the Peace Corps, and countless more have been inspired by JFK to serve their communities and their country.Read more

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