Reflection on a Visit to the White House
By Guest Contributor on Friday, November 22nd, 2013
by Glenn Blumhorst (Guatemala 1988-91 ), President, National Peace Corps Association
Considering that I’d only recently been born, it’s not surprising that I have no recollection of where I was when the tragic news of President Kennedy’s death broke. But I will likely always remember where I was on that day 50 years later.
In a very fitting tribute to his predecessor, President Obama today met with members of the Peace Corps community to honor the living legacy of President Kennedy. From the JFK Room in the West Wing of the White House, Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet, former Senator Harris Wofford, Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C. Board President Mariko Schmitz, several Returned Peace Corps Volunteers on the White House staff and I were joined via video conference by five serving Peace Corps Volunteers in Tanzania to be the special guests of President Obama in recognition of our Peace Corps service.
President Obama enjoyed a lively discussion with the serving Peace Corps Volunteers, engaging them about their projects and experiences. The President showered praise on Acting Director Hessler-Radelet, and recognized Senator Wofford and Sargant Shriver for their roles in establishing the Peace Corps.
Senator Wofford made a very articulate case for more Peace Corps, reminding us of President Kennedy’s vision for 100,000 Peace Corps Volunteers each year and the potential impact of millions of global citizens like RPCVs. Tim Shriver very eloquently spoke of how Peace Corps Volunteers ”raise the flag” about what is great about America through their lives of service at home and abroad.
I was honored to be a guest of this very special moment, and thanked the President for his support of the Peace Corps, for his nomination of Carrie and for his significant gesture of support for the Peace Corps through this event.
Update: Readout of the President’s Meeting with the Peace Corps – White House, November 22, 2013.
Lead photo from video: West Wing Week for 11/29/13 “Kindness Covers All of My Political Beliefs”