Oh northern mothers wives and sisters, all unconscious of the hour, would to Heaven that I could bear for you the concentrated woe which is so soon to follow, would that Christ would teachmy soul a prayer that would plead to the Father for grace sufficient for you, God pity and strengthen you every one.
The Red Cross in its nature, it aims and purposes, and consequently, its methods, is unlike any other organization in the country.It is an organization of physical action, of instantaneous action, at the spur of the moment; it cannot await the ordinary deliberation of organized bodies if it would be of use to suffering humanity,[ellipsis in original] it has by its nature a field of its own.
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Although its growth may seem to have been slow, it is to be remembered that it is not a shrub, or plant, to shoot up in the summerand wither in the frosts. The Red Cross is a part of us--it has come to stay--and like the sturdy oak, its spreading branches shall yet encompass and shelter the relief of the nation.
My business is stanching blood and feeding fainting men; my post the open field between the bullet and the hospital. I sometimes discuss the application of a compress or a wisp of hay under a broken limb, but not the bearing and merits of a political movement. I make gruel--not speeches; I write letters home for wounded soldiers, not political addresses.
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If I were to speak of war, it would not be to show you the glories of conquering armies but the mischief and misery they strew in their tracks; and how, while they marched on with tread of iron and plumes proudly tossing in the breeze, some one must follow closely in their steps, crouching to the earth, toiling in the rain and darkness, shelterless themselves, with no thought of pride or glory, fame or praise, or reward; hearts breaking with pity, faces bathed in tears and hands in blood. This is the side which history never shows.
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I have never worked for fame or praise, and shall not feel their loss as I otherwise would. I have never for a moment lost sight of the humble life I was born to, its small environments, and the consequently little right I had to expect much of myself, and shall have the less to censure, or upbraid myself with for the failures I must see myself make.
I don't know how long it has been since my ear has been free from the roll of a drum. It is the music I sleep by, and I love it.... I shall remain here while anyone remains, and do whatever comes to my hand. I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.
If woman alone had suffered under these mistaken traditions [of women's subordination], if she could have borne the evil by herself, it would have been less pitiful, but her brother man, in the laws he created and ignorantly worshipped, has suffered with her. He has lost her highest help; he has crippled the intelligence he needed; he has belittled the very source of his own being and dwarfed the image of his Maker.
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