Opening Remarks for the 2001 Special Olympics Board of Directors Meeting

October 15, 2001

Persons with mental retardation do not allow their nationalities or the colors of their skin or their politics or the languages they speak to separate them from other human beings. In Special Olympics we experience nothing but love and equality and hope for all human beings of all races and cultures.

Today I thank every person who is here. Your very presence is inspiring. I also thank all persons who would like to be here. I pray that my few remarks may be helpful to us all. The few remarks I shall make begin with some words I spoke 40 years ago! Here they are:

“…I recommend that we remember the beginning of the Peace Corps. We risked everything in our beginning in a leap of faith that the Peace Corps would succeed.” We started in 1961- 40 years ago. We risked everything that volunteers would respond favorably to our call for peace! We opposed the idea that war is inevitable! We believed that with God’s help we could get rid of war! We were a Corps, a band of brother and sisters, united in the conviction that id we work hard enough to eradicate our fears and increase the reach of our love we truly could avoid war and achieve peace within our selves, within our nation and around the world!

The Peace Corps seeks peace through service, not through economic strength or military power. Service is at the heart and soul and substance of the Peace Corps. And, believe it or not, the Peace Corps is operational and successful even today when the USA is at war with some people and with one the nations of the Middle East.

I say these facts today even though we Americans have declared our determination to protect our nation and our people and our beliefs from attack by terrorists. I say these things because I do think it is essential for all Christians and Jews and Muslims and Hindus and the many ethnic and religious thoughts the of the genuine world believers in God must continue their beliefs, people who believe that they have dedicated their lives and their deaths and their fortunes to peace for all human beings. Yes, peace! Yes, peace!

Truthfully, I believe Special Olympics is a profound and necessary movement right now. It is dedicated to peace, not war, dedicated to those human beings least dedicated to war and to the killing of other human beings. Persons with mental retardation do not kill others to achieve fulfillment for their lives! Persons with mental retardation do not allow their nationalities or the colors of their skin or their politics or the languages they speak to separate them from other human beings. In Special Olympics we experience nothing but love and equality and hope for all human beings of all races and cultures.

Special Olympics in today’s […text unclear…] World is an example of the need to put aside all differences by the example of our athletes who through their […text unclear…] spirit and courage overcome all adversity and differences. The example of […text unclear…] in her words last night exemplify the ongoing need for Special Olympics to show the world that all people are equal! The need to help others less fortunate with understanding and love, this is our recipe for peace! This is the heart and soul of Special Olympics!