In case you happened to forget, this Sunday is Mother’s Day. While some will be taking their mothers out to brunch and showering them with flowers, we will be celebrating our own mother of the Red Cross: Clara Barton.
This year, it just so happens that Mother’s Day falls on World Red Cross Red Crescent Day. Every year, May 8th marks a time to honor Barton, who founded the American Red Cross while serving as a nurse in the Civil War. Tending to the wounded soldiers on the front lines, she became the president of the American Red Cross in 1881.
This day also marks the anniversary of Red Cross founder Henri Dunant, who was the first to appeal to political leaders of the necessary protection of the wounded and sick he witnessed at the Battle of Solferino in 1859. His persistence turned into the Geneva Conventions and the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, serving every region of the world.
Dunant’s vision of an international organization and international treaties served as the building block for Barton’s motivation to protect
. She saw a need to keep the wounded in the midst of armed conflict safe, leading her to establish the American Red Cross. Both Clara and Henri’s passion can be seen in today’s work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Network, composed of the ICRC, the IFRC and 186 national societies.
As each of you carry on traits and memories of your own mother, we do the same. We carry on the legacy of educating the world on the importance of international humanitarian law (IHL) especially since one in five youth are unfamiliar with the rules of war . The Red Cross offers international virtual IHL classes you can attend, despite what country you live in. Schools across the nation can also incorporate Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) curriculum to educate students about human dignity.
While you thank your own mother for her hard work, love and dedication this Sunday, join us in celebrating the legacy of ours.
Next Virtual IHL Class: Wednesday, May 25th
Next EHL Teacher Training: Saturday, May 14th
Written by Katie Wilkes