Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day in the Peace Corps

"...the Peace Corps puts us 'on the front line' as it were, 
alone, armed with just our good intentions..."

"'s about service to our country to bring about a better world for everyone."

As Peace Corps Volunteers, we do not get this day off. We continue to work tirelessly on our projects and for our communities no matter the day. We work "24/7" they tell us. And, in reality, it's true. Our mere presence is a representation of America and all the aspirations we have and the skills we wish to share around the world. Our mission is "world peace and friendship" - to help others. We are dedicated and steadfast to that mission for our service of 26 months (or more).

Similar to other deployments, our service comes at a price. I have mentioned how we miss weddings and births and times spent with loved ones. Many of us live without water and electricity and all the comforts we left behind. We agree to serve under conditions of hardship and we do this happily, knowing we are making a difference. Sadly, sometimes it also comes with the greatest price of all. This has been the fate for 279 volunteers who have lost their lives during their Peace Corps service...

This Memorial Day, while you pay your respect to all of the service men and women who have laid their lives on the line to protect our freedoms, let us also take some time to thank all of those who have chosen to serve (and die for) their country in the Peace Corps.

"[When you serve in the military, you have] the role of military protector. 
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, I represent my country as a capability builder,
not protecting but building. Trying to build skills and confidence 
in people so that they can live richer and more rewarding lives."
-PCV Botswana and Retired Air Force

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