Nov 04

Reflecting on a Life of Service

by Sargent Shriver Peace Institute | 11/04/2019 2:35PM | Quote of the Week | Peacebuilding | Citizenship | Justice | Leadership | Remembering Sarge | Public Service

Reflecting on a Life of Service

Reflecting on a Life of Service

Our Quote of the Week reminds us of one of the most important lessons that Sargent Shriver taught us: that we can live a fulfilling life by devoting ourselves to serving others.

This week, we are celebrating the 104th anniversary of Sargent Shriver's birth. Born on November 9, 1915, Sargent Shriver was driven by his deep faith and his profound sense of justice. It was these values that honed his sense of service, and that enabled him to build institutions that continue to flourish and serve others today.

A brief look at Sargent Shriver's biography shows the breadth and scope of his commitment to service: During World War II, he joined the US Navy and fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal, a conflict in which he was wounded and for which he received a Purple Heart. In the 1950s, he served as the Chair of the boards of the Chicago Public Schools as well as of the Catholic Interracial Council, and led the successful efforts to desegregate Chicago's public and parochial school systems. In the 1960s, he was the founding Director of the Peace Corps, the architect of the War on Poverty, and US Ambassador to France. In the 1970s, he joined the McGovern Presidential ticket as the Vice Presidential candidate, and ran for President in 1976. In the 1980s, he participated in various peacebuilding initiatives, including efforts towards nuclear disarmament. Following that, as he was approaching the age of 70, he held various leadership roles with Special Olympics, expanding the organization in the former Soviet Union, China, Tunisia, New Zealand, South Korea, all throughout Eastern Europe, and many other countries.

We invite you to read and listen to the address that includes Sargent Shriver's famous call to service, the Address at Yale College Class Day. Given before an enthusiastic crowd at his alma mater, Yale University, the speech is as colorful as it is endearing, and includes several remembrances from Sargent Shriver's remarkable career.

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