Kennedy Introduces Peace Corps Commemoration Act

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U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) speaks to the Milford Area Chamber of Commerce last month.
U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) speaks to the Milford Area Chamber of Commerce last month. Photo Credit: Rick Sobey

MILFORD, Mass. – U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, newly-elected Democratic congressman of the 4th Massachusetts District, introduced the Peace Corps Commemoration Act last week, which would establish a Peace Corps memorial in Washington, D.C. This is Kennedy’s first bill since being sworn in as a member of Congress in January.

Kennedy served in the Peace Corps from 2004-06 in the Dominican Republic. The organization, now celebrating its 52nd year, was founded by Kennedy’s great-uncle, President John F. Kennedy, in 1961.

“At a time when the international community was fractured by the Cold War, the founding of the Peace Corps reminded America of the best it had to offer - service to others for the common cause of global peace, mutual understanding, prosperity and progress,” Kennedy said. “Commemoratives in our nation’s capital celebrate the seminal moments in American history.

“Given the lasting impact of the Peace Corps at home and abroad, it is fitting that its legacy be honored in Washington,” he added.

This cost-free legislation authorizes the nonprofit Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation to establish a commemorative work on federal land in Washington, D.C. The foundation is responsible for any costs associated with the commemorative work. This bill previously was introduced in the 112th Congress with strong bipartisan support, according to Kennedy’s office.

The bill doesn't stipulate what the commemorative work will be; rather, it authorizes the Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation to begin plans for some type of memorial on federal land in the nation’s capital, likely on or around the National Mall.

Once Congress authorizes the commemorative, design and construction are overseen by the National Parks Service, the National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts, in accordance with the federal Commemorative Works Act, according to a Kennedy spokesperson. 

For more than 50 years, through war and conflict, more than 210,000 Americans from all 50 states have served in 139 developing countries with the Peace Corps, “embodying the timeless American ideals of goodwill, friendship, prosperity and progress. Today, the 8,000 Peace Corps volunteers serving in 76 developing countries continue to live out these ideals and demonstrate the enduring significance of the Peace Corps’ founding.” 

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while I approve of this proposal, I feel like there are more pressing issues at hand that need to take priority over minor bills like this one