(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama on Wednesday unveiled a plan to create volunteer and service opportunities to help tackle some of the nation's most pressing issues, part of his weeklong focus on patriotism and national service.
"This won't be a call issued in one speech or one program - I want this to be a central cause of my presidency," Obama said in a speech at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.
"We will ask Americans to serve. We will create new opportunities for Americans to serve. And we will direct that service to our most pressing national challenges."
He added, "When you choose to serve - whether it's your nation, your community or simply your neighborhood - you are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans. That's why it's called the American dream."
Obama highlighted his time as a community organizer on Chicago's South Side and his stint heading Project Vote, a group that helped register 150,000 new African-American voters in the Illinois city, according to his campaign.
"I wasn't just helping other people. Through service, I found a community that embraced me; citizenship that was meaningful; the direction I'd been seeking. Through service, I discovered how my own improbable story fit into the larger story of America," he said.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee also touched on the "spirit" of service witnessed after the September 11, 2001, attacks and take aim at the Bush administration's failure to capitalize on this opportunity to call Americans to service.
As they said in the TV show The West Wing – this guy is the REAL DEAL. I am sooooo impressed. Please get us to November in a hurry before Bush gets us into another boondoggle in Iran.
Hearing someone from Texas (C from Texas) talk about the draft is hysterical.
National Service? No No!! We need those people for McBush and his upcoming invasion of Iran!
Hints of communism? And if I already work to hard, pay to much in tax, and just want to rest on my time off and spend time with my family, what are going to do? Force me! Welcome to the new and improved USSA!
@Young Voter from TX July 2nd, 2008 12:01 pm ET
Oh so he's going to expand the armed forces. Is he going to make his daughter sign up? Nope. Oh well, the McCain kids beat them to it; they are the true Americans who serve their country.
Tisk, Tisk child did you read the article or understand what he is even talking about. The service is.. say it with me volunteer! Meaning you don't have to do it. Besides his girls are like 8 and 10. Did McCain's daughter sign up for the armed forces...nope, and you know why follow me now...u volunteer! The whole point would be that you don't have to join the armed forces to be considered a "true American" as you stated, it can be done in a variety of other ways of public serivce.
The last time a call for service went out was when John F. Kennedy enjoined us to "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country". Forget all the "experience" issues. They are a red herring. If you want to know why Senator Obama is a once in a generation leader, you need look no farther than his call to service.
I am happy and proud to support Senator Obama.
YES WE CAN!!!
Change is around the corner.
I can feel it.