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Two Years of Service
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I think young adults, some time between finishing high school (at about age 18), and before embarking on a full time career, should undertake two years of public service.

The two years could be in the military, in the Peace Corps, in Teach for America, in AmeriCorps, or in one of a myriad of other service organizations.

That service could offer those carrying debt undertaken for their education to have some part of the loans forgiven; it would also be a way of paying our country back for all the benefits received. We take them for granted: free public education; clean water; widespread food distribution; and so on.

Everyone would be able to serve, in one way or another. I think of my friend Irwin who became both deaf and blind as a young adult. He gets children's books in braille and he reads children's stories to a circle of youngsters at the library on Saturday and also records stories for blind children to listen to.

He refuses to accept the argument that he is to be excused from volunteer work because he is handicapped; he says anyone can be of service, depending on ability. He is amazing.

Service overseas or in another part of the country would also get young people to step outside of their childhood/adolescent social matrix and see their world from a different perspective. It is a grounding experience.

It was JFK's dream, now nearly forgotten: two years' service from every young American.

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