When I was in Afghanistan, I served alongside people from every conceivable background. People who came from the coasts and the heartland, from cities and from farms—people who held beliefs as diverse as our great nation.
Some of us had almost nothing in common except the simple fact of being American and in uniform. But the men and women who got in my vehicle didn’t care if I was a Democrat, a Republican, or an independent. They just wanted to get home safe, like I did.
It was a life-changing experience, and that sense of connection to others is one that young Americans should be able to gain without having to go to war. I believe this can be achieved through national service.
By shaping a new generation bonded by the experience of serving, it will not only deliver good work but also help repair the social fabric in our nation.
Under this plan, we will immediately triple service opportunities from 75,000 to 250,000, targeted towards America’s high school graduates, community college, and vocational students. Eventually, the goal is to expand out-of-state and international service options and quadruple service opportunities—so that they’re available to one million high school graduates by 2026—across initiatives supported by the leadership of a national Chief Service Officer.
Read more on my policy proposal here: www.peteforamerica.com/national-service-plan
Our plan builds on our country’s tradition of national service, which is neither new nor partisan. Until the current administration, every president since 1960 has called upon us to serve. JFK launched the Peace Corps as he challenged us to ask what we could do for our country, George H.W. Bush championed A Thousand Points of Light, and Barack Obama expanded AmeriCorps with the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. My plan—which I’m calling ‘A New Call to Service’—builds upon this tradition to expand service opportunities for Americans.
This announcement is just the beginning. On the trail, we will continue to meet with local service leaders on our campaign stops, and in the coming months we hope you will join us in a National Day of Service, to further root our campaign in an ethos of service.
Tomorrow is our Independence Day. But what has always made America remarkable is not our independence but our interdependence. By strengthening connections between us, we can shape a new generation of America’s youth—linked by mutual experiences with service, aware of the common values that bind us as Americans, and better prepared to come as informed citizens to the table of our democracy.
Pete for America
PO Box 1226
South Bend, IN 46624