A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

History: The Role of the Red Cross in World War I

The 20 February 1919 edition of The Matawan Journal featured a lengthy article by Major General Merritte W Ireland, Surgeon General of the US Army, who lauded the role of the Red Cross during the First World War.

The work of the Red Cross as an organization began beyond the Army's evacuating hospitals and continued through the base hospitals, convalescent homes, recreation rooms, railway food depots, on board the steamers, and on back to our own shores, and is continuing until the men reach home.

He explained that the Army could never have supplied the number of qualified nurses that the Red Cross provided. He even attributed part of the successful Allied defense of Paris to Red Cross support in the hospitals. The Red Cross was advised in advance of battle plans so medical supplies could be discretely positioned for best effect.

Today the Red Cross is active at a large number of situations, here and abroad. CNN is reporting that the International Committee of the Red Cross is involved in Ivory Coast, where 800 died today. The Japanese Red Cross is helping with the ongoing earthquake/tsunami crisis. The American Red Cross has already distributed large portions of the $120 million in US donations for Japanese relief. They are also active in helping with the voluntary evacuation of US military families from Japan, according to the Hillsboro Argus. Keep Red Cross volunteers in mind when you're looking to make a donation AND when you're looking for ways to help in your community. They've historically played an important role in the world around us and continue to do so.


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