I will bear true faith and allegiance

On the morning of Friday, April 4, 2013, I was sworn in as an official Peace Corps Volunteer in the Kingdom of Morocco by Secretary of State John Kerry.

What a surreal moment.

As I stood on the stage with my right hand raised, facing the Secretary and repeating the oath, I was struck by the power of the moment.

As the words of the oath left my lips, I could feel their power hanging in the air, surrounding us and binding us to honor both our home country and the country we now call home. The words that every American government official has recited before us.

I, Abbey Walsh, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…

I looked around at the 100 other people surrounding me, eyes wide and smiles abound. The people whose zest for life, adventure, and bettering the world rivals and exceeds my own. Who have always understood my desire to dedicate two years of my life to the Peace Corps without question, without hesitation. The finer details differ here and there, but in the end we are all the same. United by the pull in our hearts to serve, connected for the rest of our lives by this moment.

…that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion…

Standing on that stage, reciting the oath, is one of the last times we’ll all be together. We’ve since been scattered around the country of Morocco, settling into the places where we’ll work and live for the next two years. For the past few months, we’ve all lived within two hours of each other. Now my friends live anywhere from a one hour taxi ride to a two-day trip away.

and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

But that’s the beauty of the Peace Corps. Despite our physical boundaries, the oath binds us all together. Not only the oath that we said in the presence of the Secretary, but also the oaths we have taken in our hearts to dedicate two years to bettering our communities, and ourselves. I wake up every morning reminded and comforted by this fact. That there’s 100 other people (actually over 200 if you count the other Volunteers currently serving) who are just as crazy and idealistic as me, who truly believe in this cause and will dedicate every day of the next 730 doing just that.

So help me God.

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// For more information about our swearing-in ceremony you can read Secretary Kerry’s speech here and view photos from the State Department here.

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