I am a retired federal government employee, having spent nearly thirty five years working in support of US foreign policy objectives. Some of my working life was spent overseas, including living for two or more years in six different countries. I also spent several years growing up overseas as a child. A lasting memory from all of that time is the respect that the overwhelming majority of citizens around the world have for the United States. A respect that not only evolves from the role that the US has played in supporting democracy around the world, but also appreciation for the opportunities that individuals are afforded in the United States to pursue goals that are unavailable or unachievable in most other countries around the world.
I believe a national service requirement can help convey to all of our citizens the unique opportunities they have in this country. In performing national service, they will be helping to sustain and build this country for their futures and for future generations. They will learn of opportunities that they were previously unaware of or that they thought were out of reach. And perhaps most importantly, they will have the opportunity to forge relationships with fellow citizens with whom they might not have had any interaction under normal circumstances.
As it does throughout society, a common shared experience will help bring people together for the mutual benefit of all. With the support of millions of Americans, I believe this effort can succeed. It can only succeed through a grass roots campaign and the support of politicians, business leaders and other opinion leaders in this country. It is a non-partisan effort that I believe most Americans can get behind.