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Ask not what your country can do for you . . .

By Pauline Rivera

The 2012 election is now in the history books and I am reminded of President John F. Kennedy who was a hero to many young people growing up in the ‘60s. Back then we saw him and first lady Jackie as the perfect young successful couple with two perfect children who lead our beloved country. But as history unfolded and reality took a seat we now know they were not the perfect couple, they did not have perfect children, he was assassinated in Dallas and his family suffered countless tragedies.

But the Kennedy family taught us one thing — give back to your community. For decades they have been public servants who perpetuate the foundation of public service through several generations. They remain imperfect but they do not place a label on those in need.

Over 50 years ago Kennedy’s words, “ask what you can do for your country” called on U.S. citizens to help their country, engage in public service or community and nonprofit volunteerism. Since then the Kennedy family has remained in the limelight for both positive and negative reasons, but their dedication to public service has not diminished.

Kennedy’s words touched my heart back then and continue to do so through my adult years. The words spoken by Kennedy in the ‘60s helped shape a nation of Peace Corp volunteers and other nonprofit volunteerism and giving. Kennedy, a young man from a strong Democrat family, and his famous words today strongly contradict the stereotypical thinking that Latinos or other groups feel entitled. The recent reference that 47 percent of our country is categorized as using and abusing the system is a defamation to our character.

So as we begin another four years with President Barack Obama, I am reminded of the hard work and volunteerism that helped get Obama elected, and the Latinos who have never felt entitled. We own a strong work ethic that is often reflected in working one or more job when our backs are up against a wall. Many of us have worked since our teenage years or earlier — bought our own school clothes or car. We are a giving community that volunteers without tooting our own horn. We raise our grandkids when the need is there. We take care of our elderly parents without question. We are the first ones to drop money in a Salvation Army pail because we know of someone who needs our help.

As we head toward four new years under Obama’s leadership, let’s join hands and be a great example to youth. We are a powerful group who have helped and continue to help shape the United States of America.





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