JFK’s inaugural address Jan. 20, 1961

Your blogger was inspired to join the Peace Corps after graduating from the University of Iowa in 1963 and served two years in Thailand.  One of my pleasures there was to meet Sargent Shriver, the founding director of the Peace Corps, who visited volunteers in Thailand soon after I arrived. I vividly remember pouring him a Singha beer during a lawn party at the US ambassador’s residence.

A few months later JFK was assassinated. News reached me in garbled fashion from a janitor at the junior high where I taught English in a town on the Cambodian border. My Thai was still pretty weak, and all I understood was that my president had died in a car. Impossible, I thought. The Voice of America soon informed me otherwise.

Almost four decades later, soon after the attacks of 9/11, I was in Washington for the drastically curtailed celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Peace Corps. Sargent Shriver, by then a frail 85 heading into the veils of Alzheimer’s, managed a strong-voiced speech declaring what the US response to terrorist attacks should be — “Service, service, service.”

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One Response

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by LarryThorson, Miami Dade Democrats. Miami Dade Democrats said: Blogged a few grafs of remembrances of #JFK and #SargentShriver http://bit.ly/eGB27m RIP […]

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