This excerpt about Red Cross volunteer moments in North Carolina during World War I was part of a program in 1921 about Armistice Day in NC created by the NCDPI. Armistice Day was held on November 11 by many Allied countries after the war was over to celebrate its end and honor those who lost their lives. In the U.S. the name of the day was eventually changed to Veterans Day to honor all who have served in the country’s military.
WELFARE WORK AT HOME AND ABROAD
…The people of North Carolina not only furnished soldiers to the Government, they also sent welfare workers to the camps and to France to care for them. They formed societies at home to make clothing, bandages and comforts for the soldiers. They took care of the relatives of soldiers who needed any kind of help. Moreover, they helped many other people who needed aid for any reason.
The greatest of all our welfare organizations was the Red Cross. In every neighborhood throughout the land there were branches of the Red Cross. In North Carolina there were 250,000 members. These patriotic workers made over 2,500,000 articles for the soldiers. They sent men and women to the camps in this country, and to France to nurse and care for the soldiers. One North Carolina girl went to Belgium in 1914 as a British Red Cross nurse. She served throughout the war, and was under fire most of the time. For her service she has been decorated by France, Belgium, and Great Britain. Her name is Madelon Battle Hancock. She was born in Asheville and now lives in England.
While the Red Cross was serving the soldiers so nobly, a new call was made on it here at home. A dread disease called influenza swept over the land killing many thousand people. Often all the members of a whole family would be stricken with no one to care for them. Often people would be stricken who were too poor to get a doctor or a nurse. In all such cases the Red Cross organized hospitals, and sent doctors and nurses to care for the sick. Many of these doctors and nurses fell sick and died in this service. They, too, were heroic soldiers fighting a terrible enemy.
A fine branch of the Red Cross work was the canteen, as the service station at the railroad stations was called. These canteens furnished hot meals and other comforts to soldiers passing through on troop trains. A famous canteen was at Raleigh. It served over 250,000 soldiers, and never failed to meet any demand on it…
Citation: “North Carolina Day. Friday, November 11th, 1921. Armistice Day. North Carolina in the World War: Electronic Edition.” Documenting the American South. https://docsouth.unc.edu/wwi/ncday1921/ncday.html. Accessed 21 August 2023.
- Describe some ways the North Carolina Red Cross contributed to the war effort.
- Why do you think this sentence was used to characterize how the Red Cross cared for influenza patients: “They, too, were heroic soldiers fighting a terrible enemy”?
- Based on this passage, what could a soldier expect from an encounter with a Red Cross canteen in North Carolina?
Welfare: effort or program to improve living conditions
Influenza: another name for the flu
Canteen: military style cafeteria