A Letter from

Jonathan Pearson

Advocacy Director, National Peace Corps Association

A Tribute from Jonathan Pearson

Will our children remember Sargent Shriver?

In the years to come, it's likely our children and grandchildren will recognize the names of those who led us in times of war: Grant and Lee, Patton and MacArthur, Powell and Petraeus. But will they remember the name of a magnificent Marylander who fought for peace and social justice? 

As we celebrate the life of Maryland native Sargent Shriver, let us also think of how - or if - future generations will remember him. 

Shriver had an accomplished and interesting life: a Democratic presidential and vice presidential candidate, relative and adviser to President Kennedy, ambassador to France and point man in President Johnson's war on poverty. 

But as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Shriver's role as chief architect and founding director of the Peace Corps resonates most with me. I never had the pleasure of meeting Sargent Shriver, but I've long been aware of his work. Unfortunately, that's not true for many Americans. 

Consider the lives he's touched - millions whose lives were changed for the better by dynamic programs Shriver developed in the Johnson administration, including Head Start, Job Corps and Legal Services. Hundreds of thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers who learned about the world, and millions more who learned from them. National service volunteers whose work can be traced to the creation of VISTA. 

And finally, all the Special Olympics athletes and volunteers who have benefited from the commitment and love of Sarge and Eunice and the entire Shriver family. 

For an individual to have successfully accomplished just one of these achievements is worthy of recognition. For Shriver to have played such a prominent role in all of these programs and more is beyond extraordinary, it makes him one for our history books. 

Jonathan Pearson, Takoma Pa