When you’re born with a name like Sargent Shriver, there must be a silent self-expectation to live up to the power and sound of that name, a desire to make a hero out of it. The late Sargent Shriver did just that. Famously known for marrying John F. Kennedy’s sister, Sargent walked into a life of constant spotlight. Sargent Shriver became the father of advocacy in his time, a life dedicated to his brother’s infamous line, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Sargent was a powerful force behind the formation of the Peace Corps, served as lead “architect” behind President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty programs, and supported his wife in the founding of the Special Olympics. At the beautiful age of 95, Robert Sargent Shriver passed away in his sleep in Suburban Hospital in Maryland on January 18th of this year after battling Alzheimer’s for years. Hundreds attended his funeral Saturday including fellow philanthropist and former President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, Oprah Winfrey, prominent activist and musician Bono and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
His accomplishments are extraordinary and well recognized throughout the country. The Peace Corps celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and the Special Olympics now has over 170 countries that participate. He truly led a life of activism and selflessness, dedicated to advocacy and service. Take a moment today to remember Sargent Shriver and reflect on his life and humanitarianism. Perhaps he helped pave the way for your advocacy program. His legacy is evidence of how advocacy is such an important piece of our society.