President Bush wants young Americans to volunteer more of their time to help those less fortunate. Mr. Bush was the commencement speaker Friday at graduation ceremonies in the Midwest state of Ohio.
President Bush told students graduating from Ohio State University that it is up to them to carry-on the spirit of volunteerism and community service that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11th.
"The achievements that last and count in life come through sacrifice and compassion and service," he said. "Some believe this lesson in service is fading as distance grows from the shock of September 11th, that the good we have witnessed is shallow and temporary. Your generation will respond to these skeptics one way or another."
The president says this year's graduating class will decide between developing a culture of selfishness that looks inward or embracing a culture of service that looks outward.
Mr. Bush encouraged students to join his USA Freedom Corps which coordinates community volunteers to help the many Americans who the president says need help.
"In the shadow of our nation's prosperity, too many children grow up without love and guidance," he said. "Too many women are abandoned and abused. Too many men are addicted and illiterate. And too many elderly Americans live in loneliness. These Americans are not strangers, they are fellow citizens. Not problems but priorities."
President Bush says Americans in need deserve better from their country. Those who volunteer to help others not only improve their communities, he says, they improve their own lives as well.
"No one can tell you how to live or what cause to serve, but everyone needs some cause larger than his or her own profit," he said. "Apathy has no adventures. Cynicism leaves no monuments. A person who is not responsible for others is a person who is truly alone."
Mr. Bush urged the 15,000 students to volunteer their time in a spirit that honors the example of police and firefighters who rushed into the World Trade Center September 11th.