On September 22, 2001 Sargent Shriver, the founding Director of the Peace Corps, spoke at the Peace Vigil held with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC and admonished RPCVs to serve! as their contribution during the present crisis. His complete remarks follow.
IM GLAD MOST OF ALL to see all of you. You, after all, are the heart, the soul, and the brains of the Peace Corps. So much as I love you and admire you I think now we have reached a point where every one of us, me included, have great responsibilities facing them in the immediate future. First of all however, I would like to thank everyone who is here. I would also like to thank all those persons who would like to be here. I pray also that my few remarks may be helpful to us all.
I recommend that we remember the beginning of the Peace Corps. We risked everything at our beginning in a leap of faith. that the Peace Corps would succeed. We started in 1961 40 years ago We risked everything in a leap of faith that the volunteers would respond favorably to our call for peace. We opposed the idea that war is inevitable. We believed that with Gods help we can rid of war.
We were a corps a band of brothers and sisters united in the conviction that if we worked hard enough to eradicate our fears and increase the outreach of our love we truly could avoid war and achieve peace within our own selves, within our nation, and around the world. How and why could we hope and dream for such results? We could do so, I believe, because the Peace Corps seeks peace through service, not through economic strength or military power.
SUDDENLY I REALIZE I do have a response to the original title given me to talk about the title was the challenge of the Peace Corps. The challenge I believe is simple simple to express, but difficult to fulfill. That challenge is expressed in these words: PCVs stay as you are. Be servants of peace. Work at home as you have worked abroad. Humbly, persistently, intelligently. Weep with those who are sorrowful, Care those who are sick. Serve your wives, serve your husbands, serve your families, serve your neighbors, serve your cities, serve the poor, join others who also serve. Serve, Serve, Serve. Thats the answer, thats the objective, thats the challenge.