It’s March, which means it’s Red Cross Month! Every March, the American Red Cross celebrates Red Cross Month to honor more than 300,000 volunteers who help fulfill the mission of the Red Cross organization across the country, as well as furthering the legacy of the Red Cross founder, Clara Barton.
This tradition began with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The 32nd President of the United States designated March “Red Cross Month” in 1943 to raise awareness of the organization’s mission. Since WWII, every U.S. President has issued an official proclamation to recognize March as Red Cross Month.
Clara Barton is one of the most honored women in American history. In 1881, at the age of 60, Clara founded the Red Cross and led it for the next 23 years. Barton was working in the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, D.C., when the Civil War began. She realized that the best way that she could support the troops was being on the battlefield. After aiding in many major conflicts of the Civil War, she was nicknamed the “Angel of the Battlefield.”
After her service to the Union Soldiers during the Civil War was complete, Clara traveled her way through Europe. While in Europe, she became aware of the Switzerland-based Red Cross, which provided international agreements to protect the sick and wounded during times of war and the formation of national societies to give aid on a neutral basis.
After returning to the United States, Barton was determined to get the United States involved in the Red Cross network. She worked with influential American leaders and contacts, such as Frederick Douglass; and in 1881, she founded the American Red Cross, where she served as President until 1904 at the age of 83.
Clara Barton died in her home in Glen Echo, Maryland, on April 12, 1912. She left behind a legacy of service to humanity that is reflected daily in the services that are provided by the employees and volunteers at the American Red Cross.
The Red Cross exists solely to provide help to those in need. Without all of the generous donors, volunteers, and employees, the Red Cross wouldn’t be what is is today.
The Red Cross responds to approximately 70,000 disasters in the United States every year ranging from fires to hurricanes and earthquakes. They provide food, shelter, healthcare, and mental services to those affected to get them back on their feet. Click here to check out more on how to become a volunteer at the American Red Cross.
Along with responding to disasters, the Red Cross helps military members, veterans, and their families prepare for, cope with, and respond to the challenges of military services.
The American Red Cross houses the largest single supply of blood in the U.S. Every year, nearly 4 million people donate blood. To find out where you can donate, click here.
If you are interested in making a monetary donation to the Red Cross, click here for more information!
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