Today is American Red Cross Founding Day. And while a great deal of worthy attention goes to Clara Barton for her spearheading this work in our nation, the impetus for that great vision began with Barton’s observation of the International Red Cross
, the brainchild of one Henry Dunant during the late 19th Century. Reflecting on the Battle of Solferino, where he and others like him wanted to do so much more, Dunant once described the challenge of serving the ill and the injured with grave limitations.
It is extremely painful to feel that you cannot help all those who lie before you, because of their great number, or aid those who appeal to you with supplications. Long hours pass before you reach the most unfortunate. You are stopped by one, petitioned by another, all equally worthy of pity.
Similarly and more personally, Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, once wrote an account of her childhood, sharing of a time when she was incredibly sick, when “men dropped their work, harnessed their own teams and drove with all haste to see if, perchance, it were anything in which they could help.”
As the more formal history goes, Clara Barton encountered the work of the International Red Cross while traveling in Europe after the Civil War, which led to her not only spearheading the creation of an American Red Cross, but her own work as its leader, aiding the military during the Spanish-American War.
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