By Diane Forrest, RN
This time last year we had seen some major catastrophes in the form of tornados and floods. This year we have been fortunate. The storms our country has encountered have not been as sever, in fact, even the winter storms this year have been mild. People have been able to relax, take a breath and rebuild from past storms. The ones who have not been able to relax are the volunteers at the Red Cross and Red Crescent Society. These volunteers work around the clock, and around the globe helping those in need.
World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day dates back to1922. At that time, the Czechoslovakia Red Cross National Society proclaimed a three-day truce at Easter to promote peace. The goal is to recognize one day every year to advocate for the relief of human suffering from disease, and the humanity of seeing a world free from suffering due to war.
The Red Cross idea was born in 1859, when Henry Dunant, a young Swiss man, came upon the scene of a bloody battle in Solferino, Italy, between the armies of imperial Austria and the Franco-Sardinian alliance. Some 40,000 men lay dead or dying on the battlefield and the wounded were lacking medical attention. Dunant organized local people to bind the soldiers' wounds and to feed and comfort them. On his return, he called for the creation of national relief societies to assist those wounded in war, and pointed the way to the future Geneva Conventions.
The idea of pooling the skills and resources of Red Cross Societies to provide humanitarian assistance in peacetime, and not just to prepare for relief in times of war, goes back to the founder of the Movement, Geneva businessman Henry Dunant, who was born on May 8.
Ways to celebrate this day include:
- Learn more about the Red Cross
- Support Red Cross programs and efforts
- Send a donation to the Red Cross
- Donate blood today
- Become a Red Cross volunteer
- Thank Red Cross volunteers for their service.