“A Memory of Solferino” by Henry Dunant

This story takes us back to the Battle of Solferino, which was part of Italy’s Second War for Independence. It was the last battle of large magnitude in the war and from the account of Henry Dunant, was equal in its carnage. Dunant goes into immense detail, describing the size of the French-Sardinian Army and the Austrian Army and how they together equated over 300,000 men. Dunant would also describe the gruesome deaths witnessed and the stories of heads being ripped from the owner by cannonballs, stomachs being gashed open with sabers, and heads being smashed by rocks. He described how the nurses, who were women, were seen running into the field to help the wounded soldiers and themselves being killed or caught in the cross fire. He even brings up the animals of soldiers and how they seemed to as into the war as their owners. Dunant was also quick to point out how it seemed the horses were more empathetic to the men laying on the ground and would carefully avoid while the men, sometimes of the same side, were so overcome with adrenaline and war they would trample the men lying to death. The following days and weeks after the battle were when you are able to truly see the disaster. Thousands of people lie in agony and thousands more lay dead in the fields. Dunant saw the townspeople down their part in helping the wounded and in need. ┬áIt was this horrific and long battle that would help inspire Henry Dunant to organize and start the Red Cross who’s sole purpose would be to relieve the pain and suffering of war as effective as possible. Its also a call to action to us to do what we can. As long as war exists there will always be some sort of suffering and people in need and we should not be so comfortable with turning our backs to them.

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