One man founded the Red Cross: Henry Dunant of Geneva. While travelling in Italy in 1859, he arrived at Solferino, just after the French and Sardinian armies had clashed with the Austrian troops In a short but bloody engagement: 40,000 dead and wounded were left on the battlefield left to die.
In his pathetic and touching account titled “A memory of Solferino”, he suggested that voluntary aid be encouraged by setting up relief societies to assist the army medical services. Soon many governments were seized of this idea and the “First Geneva Conference” met in 1863 with delegates from 16 nations including representatives from learned societies and welfare organizations. Out of this conference grew two basic tenets- 1- The need for formation of volunteer civilian organizations to render aid to the wounded in wartime.
Proclamation of neutrality in wartime for the wounded, for the volunteers going to their assistance and for the materials and equipment needed in this work.
2- The relief societies created shortly after eventually became the national Red Cross Societies and since 1919, they have been linked in a worldwide federation, the League of Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Lion and Sun Societies. As a tribute to the memory of its founder his birthday each year is celebrated as ‘Red Cross Day’ with a special slogan to emphasize the ideals of the Red Crescent movement.
The theme chosen this year is “Join Red Crescent for more Humanity”.
As a mark of tribute to the memory of Henry Dunant Pakistan Post Office is issuing a Commemorative Postage Stamp of Re. 1/- on his 150th birth anniversary which falls on 8th May, 1978.