RPCV/W-Sponsored Peace Corps 50th Anniversary
Celebration and Parade
Washington, D.C | September 25, 2011 – The Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C. (RPCV/W) hosted a commemorative event celebrating 50 years of Peace Corps at the Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery. The event also honored President John F. Kennedy’s legacy, the Peace Corps’ first director, Sargent Shriver, and the 280 Peace Corps volunteers who have died during their service.
The anniversary activities started with a wreath laying ceremony at President Kennedy’s gravesite with The Families of Fallen Peace Corps Volunteers (FPCVs) to honor their loved ones. The ceremony featured celebrated journalist Maureen Orth as Master of Ceremonies, Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams, Vice President of Liberia Joseph N. Boakai, former Senator Christopher Dodd, Maeve Kennedy McKean, the granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, and family members of volunteers who have died in service. The ceremony was followed by the Walk of Flags across the Arlington Memorial Bridge to the Lincoln Memorial, with former volunteers carrying flags from the countries they served in.
“On behalf of the entire Peace Corps community, our thoughts are with the families and friends of Peace Corps volunteers who have lost their lives during service,” said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams (Dominican Republic, 1967-1970). “As returned Peace Corps volunteers we all carry on the memory of every fallen volunteer. All of their individual stories are unique and they represent different hopes and dreams, but they belong to the Peace Corps family: one united in the belief that service can change lives and the world. On our 50th anniversary, we proudly honor them.”
Since 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps, rising to President Kennedy’s call to contribute two years of their lives to assist those in the developing world. To date, volunteers have worked in 139 countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Africa. This year alone, there are more than 8,500 volunteers and trainees ranging from their twenties to eighties, serving in 76 countries. In commemoration of their service, thousands of volunteers attended the event.
“Thus is came to be that on the cold, pre-dawn day of October 14, 1960, then-Senator John Kennedy stood before a crowd of 10,000 students in Ann Arbor, Michigan and challenged a nation to serve their country and this world,” said Senator Chris Dodd. “On that occasion, he challenged a nation to serve, not by joining our nation’s armed forces, but by traveling to lands some had never heard of to spread friendship and peace, and demonstrate to the world what it means to be American.”
For further information, please contact Jessica Benton Cooney, Media Liaison, RPCV/W, email@example.com, 202 468 9491.
The Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington D.C. (RPCV/w) was founded in 1979 and incorporated in 1990 in the District of Columbia. RPCV/W is one of the largest organizations of its kind in the world. RPCV/W is a nonprofit 501c3 and represents more than 900 returned Peace Corps volunteers, Peace Corps staff, and Peace Corps families and supporters in the greater Washington D.C. area. RPCV/W is governed by an elected board of directors. http://www.rpcvw.org/