When I joined the Peace Corps, I was an alienated, troubled young man   I was almost thrown out during training and I arrived in Nepal in 1964 looking for adventure, not looking to help humanity.  I was posted in a tiny village in the eastern hills two days from a road.  And there I began to think of something other than myself.  I learned to help people and reach out to the world with a helping hand, and I became a man I had never been.  In Nepal the mountains are high but the human spirit is higher, and I took in that spirit and I returned to the United States a new man.

I have lived on the residue of that spirit for my entire life.  But a few years ago it ran out, and I have felt spiritually bereft.  I have felt terrible empty.

For the few months that I have been working on the campaign, I have been renewed and reborn.  I have regained my soul. For the second time in my life, the Peace Corps has saved me. 

Walking the halls of Congress, I have seen the miracle of our democracy, that anyone can petition our elected leaders. And if you enter those offices with the name and power of the Peace Corps behind you, you are listened to.  You are respected.  And you can help change history.  We are going to get that $450 million because of your efforts and we will double our own efforts in the Senate and we will get it there too.  We will get it because we are Peace Corps.  And we do not stop.  We do not give up.  With our united power we are unbeatable.

HEAR US MR. PRESIDENT.

Last week we felt we had to do something different, something dramatic. We had to get Barack Obama’s attention. And so nine days ago we decided to have this rally.  Some said this would be perceived as an anti Obama rally.  But it is not that. It is a pro Obama rally, pro Obama’s vision.  If you had two friends, and you had a problem.  And one friend called your attention to it, and the other did not.  Who is the true friend?

HEAR US, MR. PRESIDENT.

The first person we contacted to speak was Tim Shriver, the president of Special Olympics International and the son of Sarge Shriver, the founder of the Peace Corps.  Within hours he said yes. He didn’t ask what anybody else important in Washington would have asked, the logistics, the other speakers, the political agenda.  No, it was for the bold new Peace Corps he just said yes. 

Two days ago we decided that it would be fantastic if we could march to the White House at the end of the rally led by Tim Shriver.  It would be incredible. And so I called Tim and he said yes. And he said,” Larry, I don’t care if it’s twenty people, fifty people. I don’t care.  It’s about the Peace Corps.  It’s about this movement. It doesn’t matter.”

HEAR US MR. PRESIDENT.

And so I look out now on this immense plaza and I see a scene I thought I would never see.  I see this great space filled to over flowing.  I see 195,000 returned volunteers standing proudly in their bold new Peace Corps t-shirts.  Up front laughing, jumping up and down with joy, I see Sarge Shriver telling us we are doing the right thing in building this bold new Peace Corps. I see the flags of the 137 Peace Corps country.  I see millions of supporters.  I see America.  I see the world. 

HEAR US, MR. PRESIDENT. 

And I hear them shouting in unison in their great voices.  I hear them shouting so loud, so clear, that two blocks away in the White House, the president hears the voices of the Peace Corps calling him to be true to his vision. He hears us and he acts.

HEAR US, MR. PRESIDENT

HEAR US, MR. PRESIDENT

HEAR US, MR. PRESIDENT

HEAR US, MR. PRESIDENT