Recently, I was asked to chair the Red Cross Blood Drive for my Club 99 Rotary group and I couldn’t have been happier. I have always liked the Red Cross. Part of my duties was to inform and invite our members and to solicit volunteers to help. I started thinking about what I knew about the Red Cross.Â A host of memories began to flood my mind. My favorite memory, and the one I decided to tell, was one of my father’s. After you read my short speech below you will again be reminded of why they are called “The Greatest Generation”.
My speech went something like this:
Everybody has heard of the Red Cross and knows they collect and distribute blood exceptionally well. And that there name seems to be synonymous with disaster relieve. But they are more than that.
Can you remember the first time you heard or learned about the Red Cross?Â Can you remember what you thought?
My father was a prisoner of war during WWII. Shot down in Germany in 1944. He spent 2 years in Stalag 13. Yes, it was the same Stalag number as Hogan’s Heroes, but it wasn’t like the TV show.
Like so many war veterans, my father didn’t like to talk about the war. He didn’t want to think about the hard times and the people he killed, or the people he saw killed. But as time went by he healed and became proud of his service, the colorful war stories, and his purple heart.
I was about 12, when at the dinner table, father began to talk about the end of the war and how he was released from prison camp.Â That is when I heard about this magical organization, called the Red Cross. Dad said, “The day the war was over, we were released from prison, and walked out the prison gates to a Red Cross truck loaded with coffee and donuts. They were the first Americans we saw. We were so happy.”
At the time of my father’s release from prison, he weighed 90 pounds.
The Red Cross story was the first positive thing my father ever told me about the war. I believe there are many more Americans with similar stories of hope brought by the Red Cross.
I hope you will all join me in supporting our local chapter. This month we will be having a Rotary Blood Drive for this great organization.