History Again…If We Make It So
By Jonathan Pearson on Thursday, October 14th, 2010
The indefatigable Harris Wofford was at it again, Thursday at 11 AM at the Michigan Union, the spot where he had lingered less than eight hours earlier to mark the exact moment fifty years earlier when John Kennedy and students at the University of Michigan helped shape history.
In his remarks at a second gathering to honor this key point in the birth of the Peace Corps, Wofford told an audience of nearly one thousand that the amazing thing about the 2 AM gathering was that even though rain and drizzle came and went, no one moved, no one left.
Kay Clifford (Uganda 69-71) who put her heart and soul into a brilliant exhibit that captures the Michigan moment, suggested to Wofford that this gathering in 2010 is perhaps another historic occasion.
Wofford shared his response with those assembled at the Union:
“If we make it so. It’s up to us to make it so.”
The audience cheered as Wofford acknowledged that we must celebrate the extraordinary experiences of more than 200,000 Peace Corps volunteers and staff over the last half-century.
But he asked the audience to consider what our nation and world might have been had several million Americans served by now. “The world still needs what the Peace Corps offers,” said Wofford who urged on attendees that we all get serious and get behind a new initiative aimed at doubling the size of Peace Corps and expanding other forms of international service.
Wofford co-chairs the Service World initiative, which calls for bold action to advance a goal of 100,000 volunteers overseas each year. The National Peace Corps Association is a convenor of Service World, which launched a website (www.ourserviceworld.org) in the past week to begin the grassroots mobilization effort to support international service. Central to the launch is a Declaration of Service.
Wofford urged all individuals to sign the declaration, which includes an extremely important comments section, allowing citizens to share their opinions with key decision makers on why service overseas is more important now than ever before. One goal of the Service World initiative is to introduce comprehensive international service legislation – named after Peace Corps founder Sargent Shriver – during Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary year in 2011.