Bill Clinton observes 50th anniversary of youthful, life-changing week

Jul 20, 2013, 12:43 ET from The American Legion

Former president and alum greets The American Legion Boys Nation delegates as they convene

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Former president Bill Clinton has marked the 50th anniversary of a week he says had a "profound impact" on his decision to pursue public service. In a two minute video played before the 98 teenage delegates to The American Legion Boys Nation in Washington, Clinton recalled his 1963 tenure as a "senator" in the prestigious educational program.


"I had the opportunity to meet with my congressional delegation including Senator Fulbright, for whom I later worked, members of the president's cabinet and, of course, President Kennedy," Clinton began.  "That week had a profound impact on me. I was deeply inspired to pursue a life in public service.

"Of course," Clinton continued, "I couldn't know then what jobs I'd have or when I would be elected, or what I'd be elected to, or even if I would be elected. I did know that I wanted to spend my life being of service.

"So," the former president concluded, "I hope that whatever you choose to do with your lives, whatever career you choose, that your week in Boys Nation will inspire the same desire to give back to your communities, your country and to people all over the world."

Boys Nation is a signature program of The American Legion, the nation's largest wartime veterans' service organization. Considered an incubator of American leadership, Boys Nation is a seven-day, dawn 'til after dusk, hands-on education in national politics and the legislative process. Activities include mock party conventions, legislative elections, debates, speechmaking and visits to Capitol Hill. While on the Hill, delegates will visit the offices of their state's respective members of Congress and present bills of their own creation.

The 98 Boys Nation delegates, housed at Marymount University in Arlington, Va., will also tour significant Washington, D.C. area landmarks and points of interest. The daily excursions will include a solemn wreath laying by Boys Nation delegates at the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington National Cemetery. The program concludes on the evening of Friday, July 26.


SOURCE The American Legion