The Few, The Proud: Military Veterans in the Peace Corps
The following clip comes from The Huffington Post and was originally published on May 25, 2012.
“Veterans and current soldiers are often honored for serving their country on the front lines of wars, conflicts and truly unimaginable experiences. On Memorial Day it's common to see images of soldiers in uniform, giving thanks from military bases all over the world or retired veterans marching in hometowns with a gaze in their eyes that gives a glimpse into the reflections of their service running through their minds.
We honor military personnel and veterans for what they are doing and have done for our country. It may be a bit of a surprise to hear that some veterans extend their opportunity to represent the U.S.A. after military service by joining the Peace Corps. I interviewed five veterans who are volunteering in Botswana.
Charles McGee is in his early 60's. He served in the Army for 30 years. He has a strong sociable personality augmented by his great sense of humor. He joined the Army in 1966. He said, ‘We were involved in a war. I suddenly found myself in the academic zone of eligibility for the draft. So, to beat the draft I enlisted for a nice cushy desk job out of harm's way. My Uncle Sam trained me well, and before long, I was flying helicopters as a young, green behind the ears lieutenant on a yearlong, all expense paid, experience-building trip to Southeast Asia.’
When President Kennedy launched the Peace Corps in 1961, Charles really liked the idea and wanted to join. Forty-nine years after the formation of the Peace Corps he followed his dream. He began his service in Botswana with his wife, Mary. He said Peace Corps and military service are similar in the following ways, ‘Both have provided me with the opportunity to travel outside the United States; to represent the American people in foreign lands well outside the beaten path; meet and grow to understand and appreciate people with a different culture, language, customs and traditions and work alongside them as they pursue a free and better life.’”
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