A Call To Service Before A Historic Inauguration Day

WASHINGTON (AP) - Gen. Colin Powell asked Americans to consider
their day off on Martin Luther King Day a "day on" instead.
Powell, an honorary co-chair of the inauguration, announced the
Presidential Inaugural Committee's "Renew America Together"
volunteering initiative on Friday to take place on Jan. 19, the
King holiday.
President-elect Barack Obama, Vice President-elect Joe Biden and
their families will volunteer in the Washington area that day, a
day before the Jan. 20 inauguration. They're asking Americans to do
the same in their own communities.
"I think it will capture the imagination of the American
people," Powell said, adding that there was a "fervor" for the
new administration that should be tapped.
The goal is to make public service a greater priority throughout
American life.
"It's not enough, I think, just to do it one day a year,"
Powell said.
The inaugural committee launched a Web site, USAService.org, to
help Americans find opportunities to volunteer in their own
communities. Spokeswoman Linda Douglass said there are already
nearly 5,000 online listings, and people are welcome to add their
The Corporation for National and Community Service, the agency
that oversees AmeriCorps, has been working for 14 years to make
King day a national day of service at the request of Congress. They
also worked with the inaugural committee on the new project.
Although a troubled economy has meant a drop in charitable
giving, Powell said he was confident that Obama and Biden could
appeal to the generous American spirit.
"My experience is, in time of need, the American people
recognize that they have to do more than they would have
otherwise," he said.
Powell founded the America's Promise Alliance, a group that
tries to improve children's lives, and has also worked with the
Boys and Girls Club and the United Negro College Fund.
He said he has not been asked to work in the Obama
Administration and has made it clear he doesn't want to.
"I'm not looking for a job," he said. "I'm very happy in
private life, thank you very much."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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