By Marjorie Hart
1945: When my college roommate and I left work at Tiffany’s in the afternoon, newsboys on the corner were shouting “Extra-Extra! Read all about it!!” The black headlines were either about the raging war in the South Pacific or that Mayor LaGuardia had declared another holiday. The most significant event was when the Queen Mary arrived from Europe with the first contingent of fourteen thousand service men and women. We joined throngs of New Yorkers, cheering and crying when the gangplank was lowered. What a welcome they received as they stepped onto American soil and how they appreciated the Red Cross ladies as they dispensed 35,000 half-pints of milk at the pier. Many had not tasted milk for four years.
Eleanor Roosevelt set the example as she carried her voluminous knitting bag everywhere, as co-chairman of the American Red Cross. We knitted socks and mufflers to be sent overseas, rolled balls of tin-foil from gum wrappers for ammunition, danced with servicemen at the USO, donated at the Red Cross Blood Bank and saw our parents meet trains in the middle of the night to offer troops doughnuts and coffee. Long after WWII, my father, through the Red Cross, helped veterans with their pensions and provided aid for the Soldier’s Home.
It was the Red Cross who taught me this vital lesson: to participate in times of emergency and crisis, to work together and assume responsibility for those in need. Every person makes a difference in the lives of others.
Marjorie Hart is the former chairman of the Fine Arts Department at the University of San Diego and a professional cellist. She is the author of “Summer at Tiffany”.
This guest post was contributed by the author to Writers for the Red Cross. Writers for the Red Cross is a month-long celebration that brings writers, readers, editors, literary agents and independent bookstores together to raise funds and awareness for the Red Cross during Red Cross Month.