A picture of Representative Raúl M. Grijalva
Raul G.
Democrat AZ 3

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  • Peace Corps DC Commemorative Work Act

    by Representative Raúl M. Grijalva

    Posted on 2014-01-13

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    GRIJALVA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Last November, we marked the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's tragic assassination. Losing President Kennedy left a lasting scar on the American psyche, but his legacy lives on through his words and ideas, including the establishment of the Peace Corps, an institution that has sent over 200,000 Americans to 139 countries in its 52-year history.

    S. 230 authorizes construction of a memorial to commemorate the mission of the Peace Corps and the values on which it was founded. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate President Kennedy's legacy and the tremendous accomplishments of the Peace Corps.

    With the passage of S. 230, we will be sending a worthwhile bill to the President's desk. I am glad we have been able to put our differences aside and pass such a meaningful bill in the first few weeks of the new year.

    Both Congressman Sam Farr, who sponsored the House companion to this legislation in prior Congresses, and Representative Kennedy, who is the sponsor this Congress, deserve our thanks for the diligence in getting this legislation approved today.

    With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

    Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Petri), a former Peace Corps member.

    Mr. PETRI. I thank my colleague for yielding.

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the bill before us, S. 230, which would authorize the Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation to establish a memorial in our Nation's Capital to honor the formation of the Peace Corps and the thousands of volunteers who have represented our American ideals to communities around the world for over 50 years.

    I was honored to have the opportunity to serve in the Peace Corps in Somalia, and I saw firsthand the contribution that Peace Corps volunteers make to the communities they serve. The continued selfless and noble service outside our borders remains a testament to the American ideals embodied by the Peace Corps volunteers I served with and those who are serving our Nation today.

    The creation of the Peace Corps by Congress and President John F. Kennedy in 1961 marked a fundamental turning point in American foreign policy. The values and ideals of America were put into action to help meet the needs of people and communities in developing countries through volunteer service abroad.

    [[Page H169]] When I was serving, we were taught that we were representing the American people, not necessarily the American Government. Therefore, I believe that a memorial to mark over 50 years of service by our fellow Americans that is paid for with voluntary contributions is an appropriate indication of the public support for all the volunteers that have and will continue to represent America in many different societies around the world.

    The memorials in Washington, D.C., tell the story of the people and events that have shaped our Nation's history and our fundamental ideals. The founding of the Peace Corps was an expression of those ideals and will continue to inspire new generations of Americans to embrace the belief that we can and should reach out to uplift those around us. As such, I believe a memorial commemorating 50 years of Peace Corps history and volunteerism would be a meaningful part of the National Capital landscape.

    I encourage my colleagues to consider this bill in the spirit in which it is being offered, as a privately funded commemorative effort, and join me in supporting S. 230.

    Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Kennedy), the sponsor of the House companion to the legislation.

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