Mr. BYRD. Madam President, this week, March 1 through March 7, is National Peace Corps Week. It marks the 49th anniversary of this unique and important government agency.
When proposing the creation of the Peace Corps to Congress, President John F. Kennedy declared that, ``Our own freedom, and the future of freedom around the world, depends, in a very real sense, on the ability to build growing and independent nations where men can live in dignity, liberated from the bonds of hunger, ignorance, and poverty.''
For 49 years, nearly 200,000 dedicated Americans have served in 139 countries around the world helping developing nations with health and sanitation projects, assisting them in increasing their agricultural production, and educating their young. In pursuit of the Peace Corps goal of helping people help themselves, Peace Corps volunteers have served as school teachers, economic development advisers, agricultural and environmental specialists, and in various capacities as skilled laborers. Today, Peace Corps volunteers are working in countries around the world in emerging and essential areas such as information technology and business development.
In fulfilling the mission that President Kennedy established for it on March 1, 1961, the Peace Corps has become an enduring symbol of the American commitment to freedom through the encouragement of the social and economic progress of all nations. It is truly one of the most successful and influential programs in the history of our Nation.
Madam President, I use this opportunity, the 49th anniversary of the Peace Corps, to congratulate and to thank everyone ever involved in this program that provides such an important service to our country, as well as other nations, and to our fellow man.