"I propose to create a Civilian Conservation Corps to be used in simple work...more important, however, than the material gains will be the moral and spiritual value of such work."
Franklin D. Roosevelt
March 9, 1933
Over 80 years later, most of the buildings built by the CCC are still standing, with the majority of them in various state and national park sites. These structures were built by men who learned to care about the quality of their work. The bridges, buildings, and other elements they worked on were designed to last for the ages, and were constructed in a way to fit with the natural environment. Construction materials were unique to each area and were found on the building site or within easy transport by wagon or truck. While designs were flexible enough to allow for modifications due to site issues, a strong work ethic was demanded, and quality control was rigid. Fighting, the use of alchohol or drugs, or laziness were grounds for immediate and permanent removal from the Corps.
I sometimes wonder if today's world would allow the redevelopment of such a Corps. Would the threat of litigation overshadow work ethic and discipline? Would today's drive for profit and speed mean that the use of indigenous materials and high quality construction would not be possible? Would today's bureaucracy simply make repair, improvement, and construction of simple facilities a logistical quagmire? Would many just walk away?
We live in a country with crumbling infrastructure. We have a self-described "permanently unemployed class". Our borders are being flooded by thousands who seek to come to America to build better lives for their families and themselves, but often come here illegally as they have no other easy recourse to take. The CCC served a purpose of hope through hard work. The downtrodden were taught life skills, and with those skills, were able to change their family's destiny. They became a viable part of America's fabric.
Would the CCC work today? The cynic in me says "No, the world and the people in it has changed too much.". The optimist in me says "We wont find out unless we give it a try."