During a conversation with Bob Schieffer at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2012, General Stanley McChrystal—the Chairman of our Leadership Council—commented that for the first time in our history, less than one percent of Americans are serving in our nation’s military. He noted that citizenship in our country has atrophied and we suffer from a general lack of connectedness, and considered large-scale national service a possible solution.
"The payoff is not what they do. It’s not whether they go build roads and parks… it’s what you put inside of them. Because once you have contributed to something, you have a slightly different view of it.”
General McChrystal’s comments struck a nerve with the American public, fatigued by the deterioration of many of the institutions and opportunities that used to help buttress citizenship. Joining a cadre of committed people and organizations that have worked to make service and citizenship a national conversation for years, General McChrystal led the creation of the Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute in 2013. He is now the Chair of the Franklin Project Leadership Council. Supported by military veterans who consider civilian and military service two sides of the same coin, a bipartisan leadership team committed to this big idea, and nonprofit and community leaders who have seen first-hand the impact civilian service has on communities, the Franklin Project was born. For our team, national service is in part about supporting good causes – but it’s very much about helping develop the next generations of Americans.
We envision a world in which every American is asked, “Where did you serve?” and can answer with pride.
For a full list of media on the Franklin Project and national service, please visit our Recent Media page.
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