Women have often been on the forefront of healing and nursing, seeing where change is needed and making that change happen. One such woman is Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross and “Angel of the Battlefield” during the Civil War.
After personally taking supplies to the front lines of the war and earning her nickname, Barton founded the Red Cross in 1881 at 59 yrs old and led it for 23 years. She was inspired by an 1869 visit to the Swiss Red Cross, “which called for international agreements to protect the sick and wounded during wartime and for the formation of national societies to give aid voluntarily on a neutral basis.”
The American Red Cross is an independent, non-profit, tax-exempt charity (501(c)3), but they are given responsibilities by the federal government, such as honoring the Geneva Conventions, supporting the US military, and working with the National Response Framework and Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA)
“The Red Cross…has often seemed to be the friendly hand of this nation, reaching across the sea to sustain its fighting men. “– Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Address to Congress, June 18, 1945
Since March 2020, The Red Cross has been active in natural disaster relief (aiding after the many hurricanes and the derecho in Iowa), as well as investigating COVID-19 and the use of ‘convalescent plasma” which contains important antibodies.
The Red Cross is an essential American institution, and we are grateful for them!