Harry S. Truman photo

Radio Remarks Opening the Red Cross Campaign.

February 28, 1950

[Broadcast from the White House at 10:54 p.m.]

General Marshall, my fellow Americans:

Tonight many of you have heard from the lips of individuals what the Red Cross has meant to them and to their loved ones.

These examples represent a few authentic reports from this great organization's files. They tell the story of the Red Cross more vividly than any statistics I could quote. These testimonials from the people translate figures and costs into good deeds. They give new meaning to the balance sheet.

After all, the Red Cross interests itself almost solely in meeting human needs-whether the demands are in the field of disaster relief; in safeguarding health; in safety work; in providing lifesaving blood and its derivatives without charge; or in its invaluable services to our armed forces and to our veterans. Here is an agency that has become almost indispensable in our community life today. It is a neighborly service. At the same time, its help is available to distressed people around the world.

There could be no rider testimonial to the Red Cross than the devotion it inspires in its volunteers--men and women whose sole reward is the deep satisfaction of service to others.

Tonight, 2,000,000 of these messengers of goodwill stand ready to visit your homes or your places of business tomorrow and throughout the month of March--in every city, town, and hamlet of our land. These are the campaign solicitors of the American Red Cross. Let us remember that all the workers in this voluntary army are giving not only of their funds, but of their time and energy as well. These public-spirited men and women are entitled to a hearing when they call on you.

Through your response to their appeal the Red Cross becomes your agent to do for your less fortunate neighbors the things you would do yourself if you could be at the scene when the calamity strikes, or when the accident occurs, or when a man in uniform or an ex-serviceman needs a helping hand.

In all that it does, the Red Cross is flexible enough to provide aid which is entirely personal, yet strong enough to deal with major disasters involving hundreds of thousands of individuals.

The Red Cross belongs to the American people. It is your organization. As President of the United States, I enrolled in the Red Cross earlier today. I consider this annual enrollment a genuine privilege. In these fateful days, I ask all Americans to join in responding to a great humanitarian appeal.

Note: In his opening words the President referred to General of the Army George C. Marshall, President and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American National Red Cross.

Harry S. Truman, Radio Remarks Opening the Red Cross Campaign. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230696

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