Red on White
Solferino is an Italian town at the foot of the mighty Alps. There, in 1859, the Austrian and French armies fought a fierce battle which resulted in 40,000 casualties between the dead and the wounded.
Henry Dunant had watched the battle and was shocked by what he saw. He had no medical training but he was a good organiser, and set about treating the wounded. Despite his best efforts and the efforts of those assisting him, scores of the wounded died while other suffered agony.
Dunant was haunted by the horrors of Solferino. He wrote a book in which he put forward the idea that people wounded in battle were owed medical care from the hands of volunteers. He proposed too that the warring factions would recognise the status of these helpers and give them every assistance.
Within a few years the 'Geneva Convention' was agreed by a number of nations. It stated, and still does, that every soldier, no matter what nationality, is entitled to medical treatment on the field of battle.
The organisation which was born at that meeting in Geneva in 1863 took the name 'The Red Cross', and adopted its well known emblem.
Dunant's name is largely forgotten but his legacy to the world lives on and flourishes.
Today there are 122 national Red Cross societies which comprise 200 million members.
The Irish Red Cross is an Irish charity with a network of over 100 branches throughout the country - run entirely by volunteers, and we in Lucan are lucky to have a local branch.
In Ireland these days, as well as raising funds and awareness for humanitarian operations abroad, the local branches are more associated with leisure time activities – members trained in First Aid assisting at local community events, be they parades, festivals or sporting events.
If you would like to be part of this great movement, make contact with them today!