The 52Nd Anniversary of the Peace Corpsby Representative Chris Van Hollen
Posted on 2013-02-28
in the house of representatives
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise regarding the 52nd anniversary of
the Peace Corps to recognize the service, sacrifice and commitment of
the men and women who devote a portion of their lives to the task of
helping to strengthen the ties of friendship and understanding between
the people of United States and others around the world. These cultural
ambassadors embody the legacy of service that is the foundation of this
nation's image abroad. Since 1961, more than 210,000 volunteers have
served in 193 countries around the world. Their efforts in Africa,
Asia, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere
have made significant and lasting contributions in the areas of
agriculture, business development, education, health, and youth
development among others.
I know firsthand of the long-lasting benefits of the good work of the Peace Corps. My father served in the Navy and then went on to become a United States Foreign Service officer, proudly representing America in places like Turkey and India and Pakistan, where I was born. I learned a lot about the world as a child in those places, but I also learned a lot about America.
One memory of those years stands out. It was in the early 1970s, and I had just turned 14. One day, I traveled with my parents to a tiny remote village in Sri Lanka. There, I walked into a family's small hut and as my eyes adjusted to the light, I noticed, hanging on the wall, a portrait of President John F. Kennedy. It was 10 years after he had been in the White House and half a world away from our country, but for these villagers it represented the America that had sent Peace Corps volunteers to help them. It represented the America they looked to as a land of opportunity and as a force for good and justice around the world. That portrait of our president represented an America that was a beacon of hope.
As we celebrate the fifty-second anniversary of the Peace Corps, let us salute the men and women who helped bring the best of America to the people of the world.