Let's begin a JFK moon-shot program to end homelessness among American veterans within five years, and end homelessness of any American within 10 years.
The ambitious goal of ending the plight of our homeless heroes within five years was originally proposed by Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Veterans Affairs secretary under President Obama.
Shinseki is absolutely right. A national mobilization to achieve his dream would be supported by tens of millions of men and women of faith in houses of worship throughout the nation, and tens of millions of men and women of patriotism and duty who serve our nation as veterans and members of military families.
The challenge of ending homelessness among vets will take government action at the federal, state and local levels.
Government cannot do this alone. It will take ideas from both political parties and the kind of major community outreach and patriotic partnership championed by first lady Michelle Obama. Let's mobilize private companies, faith-based groups, veterans and concerned citizens in all communities.
What better cause to unite the president and Congress! Democrats and Republicans. Liberals and conservatives. Government, private companies and individual Americans who believe more than ever, after the tragic events of recent days, that we must find ways to come together on matters of common purpose.
The winners of this challenge we should join together to wage are not only the homeless heroes we support.
Politicians from both parties will win public support from a grateful nation ready to march together for a common purpose.
Private companies that join this cause will win admiration from tens of millions of customers who care. Hollywood stars and studios that lift our national spirit as they have so many times before will find a huge audience for their generosity and good will.
Public-relations firms, advertising agencies and lobbyists that enlist their clients to this cause will reap rewards of thanks from members of the executive branch, both parties in Congress, public officials at all levels of government and tens of millions of customers and voters.
Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and all network, cable and satellite television companies would reach large audiences and generate great good will by donating public service time to those helping homeless heroes, and supporting original programming of high interest to vast numbers of viewers who care about them.
I write these words as we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, honor the 50th anniversary of the inaugural address of President Kennedy, recall the farewell address of President Eisenhower and prepare to honor President Reagan a century after his birth.
What better cause to honor them all than a promise that five years from now, no American who has worn the uniform of our country will be homeless anywhere in this land that we love, which they served?
Fifty years ago President Kennedy challenged Americans to ask what we can do for our country. He said that here on earth, God's work must truly be our own. With this standard for America, let's come together for the homeless heroes who defended America.