A commitment to serve our neighbors and our Nation is an essential part of the American character. We have always believed in an ethic of citizenship that includes helping those in need and promoting the common good. We know this makes America stronger and the world better.
The USA Freedom Corps builds on this great American ethic. The USA Freedom Corps will promote a culture of responsibility, service, and citizenship. It will work with key service agencies in government and the nonprofit sector to provide incentives and new opportunities to serve at home and abroad. The USA Freedom Corps will draw on help from Americans of all ages and of every background. It is an integrated citizen service initiative -- and the Administration believes it can and will do great good.
Americans serve their country in extraordinary and countless ways. Most of our Nations civic work is being done without the aid of the Federal Government. But we believe the Federal Government can work to enhance opportunities for Americans to serve their neighbors and their Nation. The Administration is therefore proposing to create and expand activities that will enhance homeland security, provide additional community-based service and volunteer opportunities, and assist people around the world.
President Bush is calling on all Americans to serve their country for the equivalent of two years -- or 4,000 hours -- over a lifetime. Some Americans -- such as those just graduating from high school or college or those beginning their retirement -- may want to perform one or more years of uninterrupted service. Other Americans may wish to commit service hours over many years. Some citizens will serve for many more than two years, others for less. This initiative is not a Federal mandate -- it is profound individual commitment and a worthy national goal.
The tragic events of September 11 reminded Americans that, as citizens, we bear essential obligations to each other, to our country, and to history. The USA Freedom Corps is one way President Bushs Administration intends to help Americans fulfill these individual obligations.
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