50 years ago today, as the youngest president in history took the stage and the oath of office, John F. Kennedy declared that he was “passing the torch to a new generation.”
It was a cold inauguration day in Washington, D.C. — a day that would change the lives of many young Americans.
It would become one of the most famous speeches in American history, a speech that would help shape his life — and his generation.
His famous plea echos today, and in the lives of those who decided on the spot to dedicate their lives to service: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
Within the two months, thousands of young people had signed up for his “Peace Corps“, to help struggling populations around the globe. Since 1961, over 200,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps, serving in 139 countries. Many former volunteers have risen to national prominence.
(READ or LISTEN to the inspiring story at NPR News)