- I feel the same way... ... From: John Turnbull Subject: A comment from the late Jack Vaughn To: RPCV-L@LIST.UNM.EDU Date: Monday,Message 1 of 1 , Nov 17, 2012View Source
I feel the same way...
--- On Mon, 11/12/12, John Turnbull <jat123@...> wrote:
From: John Turnbull <jat123@...>
Subject: A comment from the late Jack Vaughn
Date: Monday, November 12, 2012, 7:09 PMHi Everybody, As most people know, candidate John F Kennedy's seminal 1960 speech, and challenge to young Americans to embrace the idea of the Peace Corps, was an impromptu unrehearsed speech on the steps of the student union, at the University of Michigan. Second PC Director Vaughn, a graduate of Univ of Michigan, made these following comments on these same steps, during the 50th PC Anniversary observance.We have a scheme for a memorial to the Peace Corps grinding ahead, to be located off the Washington Mall, but I wonder if these steps in Ann Arbor, Michigan might instead be the logical location.I'm reminded of another earlier national memorial, placed not in Washington, but at a simple bridge near Concord, Massachusetts in 1836, and captured by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his "Concord Hymn", written for the dedication: "Here the embattled farmers stood, and fired the shot heard 'round the world."Thinking of America the Empire, vs America the Nation, it's something to think about.Best regards, John Turnbull Lower Canoncito
The following are the remarks of former Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn during October 14, 2010 50th anniversary celebrations at the University of Michigan:
Ann Arbor is my home. The University of Michigan is my alma mater. It was here that uncounted relatives and I were educated, including three of my sisters, my wife and my daughter. It was here that I taught romance languages and coached boxing. It was here, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, that my Brothers from the Phi Gam House and I marched down to the Marine Corps recruiting station to enlist in World War II. Ann Arbor is my home. I love Ann Arbor.
The Peace Corps is also my home. I couldn’t resign from the Foreign Service fast enough to join Kennedy’s call, so eloquently expressed on these steps. Working with Sargent Shriver, I was responsible for introducing the Peace Corps to Latin America, which remains an exciting and vibrant Peace Corps success story to this day. Succeeding Shriver as Director was the toughest and most rewarding job I ever had. I was completely at home in the Peace Corps. It has been a huge part of my life for almost 50 years. I love the Peace Corps and its Volunteers.
Student activists, particularly at Michigan and other mid-western universities, jumped on the Kennedy campaign bandwagon early and forcefully. I suspect it was those early campus volunteers who opened JFK’s eyes to the power and possibility of post-election volunteerism.
Peace Corps Volunteers epitomize service, dedicating at least two years to their lives to living among, and helping, the poorest of the poor in all four corners of the world. They do messy, backbreaking work under the most difficult circumstances imaginable. They overcome loneliness, hardship and unimaginable obstacles. They are the authors of uncounted success stories. When they return to the United States they reorient themselves and their careers to make important contributions in all walks of American life, from national political office to public health, to social work, to environment preservation, to teaching in the inner city, to name a few. Their commitment to service is boundless. They are the best of Americans.
This is the previously overlooked talent Kennedy tapped into when he spoke on the steps here 50 years ago.
The last time I was with President Kennedy, we were standing on a balcony overlooking the massive main square in Bogota, Colombia. It was early pandemonium. The roaring and applauding of over a million people was deafening.
Can you understand what is happening here, Senor Presidente, just what has caused this unique demonstration in front of us?” asked host President Alberto Lleras Camargo. “My people believe that you are on their side.”
That was, and still is, the beauty of the Peace Corps and why we are here today to recall JFK’s message of service and love that October night