March 1, 1961: President Kennedy announced the signing of the executive order and the formation of the Peace Corps at a national press conference.
My favorite part of his announcement —
“Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy. There will be no salary and allowances will be at a level sufficient only to maintain health and meet basic needs. Men and women will be expected to work and live alongside the nationals of the country in which they are stationed—doing the same work, eating the same food, talking the same language.
“But if the life will not be easy, it will be rich and satisfying. For every young American who participates in the Peace Corps—who works in a foreign land—will know that he or she is sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace.”
-More than 200,000 volunteers
-139 countries served
Check out this forum, sponsored by NPR, about the past, present and future of PC (click on download audio). Interesting stuff.