Red, white and blue Empire State Building to honor Peace Corps' 50th
President Kennedy signed an executive order establishing the Peace Corps. (Peace Corps photo)
March 1st, 2011
09:15 AM ET

Red, white and blue Empire State Building to honor Peace Corps' 50th

The Empire State Building will be illuminated in red, white and blue today to honor the golden anniversary of President Kennedy signing the order that created the Peace Corps.

Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps and its mission to promote peace and friendship across the globe. Since 1961, more than 200,000 American Peace Corps volunteers have served in 139 countries.

Volunteers help people in developing countries build better lives for themselves. Their work includes helping farmers increase food production, health education, teaching computer and multimedia skills and countless other initiatives.

"Throughout our history, the Peace Corps has adapted and responded to the issues of the times," Peace Corps director Aaron S. Williams said in a press release. "In an ever-changing world, volunteers meet challenges with innovation and compassion."

Today, there are more than 8,650 Peace Corps volunteers serving in 77 countries.

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The Peace Corps traces its roots to 1960 when Kennedy challenged University of Michigan students to work in developing countries to promote peace. He signed an executive order establishing the federal agency the following year.

"As we move to the future, I envision a Peace Corps that remains vibrant for another 50 years, one that grows, and continues to carry the torch of President Kennedy's revolutionary idea and responds to President Obama's call to service," Williams said.

In addition to the Empire State Building tribute, the Peace Corps will host numerous events around the country throughout the year.

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Veritas

    Happy anniversary Peace Corps. Very happy to see at least one of JFKs dreams still going strong after his horrific assasination by the gop. Love you miss you John F Kennedy the world has suffered so without you in it. Rest in Peace.

    March 1, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. John

    I hear that the Peace core may shut down. It may be announced this Friday.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kennedy's Brain

    The GOP? Oh man, finish your Kool Aid.

    March 2, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |