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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

American Red Cross Month

March is American Red Cross Month. Having been established in 1881, the Red Cross has served across many divides since its inception. Thanks to Clara Barton (1821–1912) and her involvement in the work of the International Red Cross during the Franco-Prussian War the American Red Cross was founded.

Clara Barton was a teacher who performed humanitarian services during the American Civil War, a war that took its toll on American families. Clara traveled abroad to Europe for a much needed restful vacation and it was during this time she became involved in the International Red Cross and was determined to bring the organization to America. The bloody battlefields of civil war left their mark in history and no one envisioned anything like the Civil War ever happening again. Yet, Clara had a vision that the Red Cross could provide services in other times of crisis, not just during war time, and kept the hope of the Red Cross expansion moving forward.

Of course, that was just the beginning and the annals of history are filled with accounts of relief provided by the American National Red Cross. From the Great Fire of 1881 (Thumb Fire) in the Thumb region of Michigan to the Johnstown Flood in Johnstown, Pennsylvania through World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and tens of thousands of natural and man-made disasters, the non-profit organization of America's Red Cross has reached out and responded overwhelmingly.

From the National Archives...

 Red Cross Nurses Uniform Hats from WWI are 
carefully preserved in archival boxes.

This WWI Canteen Worker hat, 1914-1918, 
is made of blue wool with red hand sewn trim. 
The hat is shown before the inside is padded
with cotton stuffers and non-buffered 
abaca fiber tissue.

Embrace the Past...

Footsteps of History 
 
It is a sad day when events provoke attacks that set brother against brother and father against son. How heart rendering that must be; yet, it is a decisive turning point in America’s history. 
 
Take a myriad of steps back in time 
When brother fought against brother 
An era that terrified the country 
Every father, every mother

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Unimaginable circumstances
Sent sons of one nation into battle
Internal war raging unmercifully
Bore conflicts that to this day still rattle

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Family, friends, loved ones
Separated or parted forever
Thousands suffered and died
All on behalf of freedom’s endeavor

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Soldiers hungry, ragged and dirty
Fell exhausted from heavy artillery
Freezing, drizzling, miserable rains
Contributed to life’s daily misery

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Away from the battlefield
A sense of calm lulled
Within panoramic views
Thoughts lingered and mulled

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In the wake of faint dawn
Soldiers shared last desires
Snuggling close to stay warm
Beside the bivouac fires

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Walk in the footsteps of history 
Relive vivid stories that do declare
Tales of morbid pain and suffering
As well as humor in times of despair


©2012 Awakenings
  Sharla Lee Shults

Connecting the past to the present… 

“I am passionately interested in understanding how my country works. And if you want to know about this thing called the United States of America you have to know about the Civil War.” —Ken Burns (1953–Present)

Did you know?
The American Red Cross is a charitable organization, not a government agency. It depends on volunteers and the generosity of people like you to perform its mission.
  Historic artwork of a Red Cross nurse flanked by members of all of the lines of military service