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An 80th Birthday Tribute to Sargent Shriver (Senate - November 09, 1995)

An 80th Birthday Tribute to Sargent Shriver (Senate - November 09, 1995)


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Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I rise to pay tribute today to Sargent Shriver, my dear friend for whom I have the utmost respect and admiration, on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

It is rare, in this day and age, to be able to say that a person has truly made the world a better place in which to live. But that is a fitting description of Sargent Shriver. A man of stellar character, faithful devotion, and tireless energy, Sargent Shriver has led a life of philanthropy, compassion, and public service.

Born on this day in 1915, Sargent Shriver earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University. In 1953, he married Eunice Kennedy--and I say to my good friend Eunice today, she could not have married a better man. Shriver has, at different points in his life, played the roles of Navy serviceman, Newsweek journalist, Merchandise Mart general manager, Chicago Board of Education commissioner, public servant, vice presidential candidate, and Ambassador to France.

But the roles in which Sargent Shriver truly shined are those for which he is best known. In 1961, Sargent Shriver became the chief organizer and first director of the Peace Corps, establishing an organization that would come to the aid of foreign communities needing medical, educational, and technical assistance, while giving millions of Americans the opportunity to share knowledge and culture with those around the world. It was not easy--the critics were numerous and vocal--but he pressed on and the Peace Corps became one of the hallmarks of the Kennedy Administration. Mr. President, Sargent Shriver deserves the gratitude of every American for his work in this capacity. I must add my personal thanks to him, for my own service in the Peace Corps profoundly affected my life.

But Sargent Shriver's commitment to those most in need did not end there. Leading President Johnson's War on Poverty, Shriver ushered in many of the Great Society programs that made the American dream a reality for so many families--programs that continue to bring so much to so many.

And now that he is 80, Mr. President, Sargent Shriver's altruism is far from faded, but rather is as strong as ever. Since 1984, Shriver has served as president, and since 1990, chairman of the board, of Special Olympics International, which was founded by his wife, Eunice. I was privileged to see the glorious results of Eunice's and Sargent's tireless efforts on behalf of this fine organization this past summer, when the State of Connecticut hosted the Special Olympic Games.

It has been said, Mr. President, that a true leader is one who develops leadership in others--one who wants to see every individual succeed to the best of their ability, even if those achievements surpass his own. Through his stewardship of both the Peace Corps and the Special Olympics, Sargent Shriver has sought to encourage and develop the unique talents, energies, and abilities of all individuals, proving that he is indeed among the true leaders of our time.

Mr. President, Sargent Shriver is a humanitarian, an advocate, a public servant, and a leader whose contributions to his country and to his fellow man will endure throughout the ages. I am proud to call him my friend, and I wish him and Eunice all the best on this very special birthday.

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Story Source: US Senate

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