What Have American Presidents Said About the American Red Cross?

Since President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the first Red Cross Month in 1943, every American President has had something to say about the American Red Cross and its contributions to the United States.


“I request that during that month (March) our people rededicate themselves to the splendid aims and activities of the Red Cross. I summon the men, women, and young people of our country, in every city and town and village, in every county and state throughout the land, to enlist in the army of mercy mobilized under the banner of the Red Cross and to contribute generously to the Red Cross War Fund.”

–President Franklin D. Roosevelt, first Presidential Proclamation, 1943

“In order to help meet a growing post-war need, which would be multiplied in the event of a national emergency, this agency has inaugurated a national blood program intended to ensure eventually the availability of lifesaving blood to the entire nation.”

–President Harry S Truman, 1949 Red Cross Month Proclamation

“The services of the Red Cross demonstrate our nation’s tradition of neighbor helping neighbor.”

–President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959

“Today as the Red Cross embarks upon its second century of service, each of us has an opportunity and an obligation to become a part of this humanitarian tradition. For only through our help is this important work made possible.”

–President John F. Kennedy on the 100th anniversary of the Red Cross Movement, 1963

“On every battle field, a flag of mercy flies. Its white field bears a Red Cross-the universal symbol of human compassion. Under that flag, there are no enemies, no racial or religious animosities. There are only brothers.”

–President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968 Proclamation

“Born of war and raised in adversity, the American Red Cross has evolved many traditions in its universal quest to ease human suffering, but none have served it so durably as its tradition of flexibility.”

–President Richard M. Nixon, 1970 Proclamation

“Through the years, the American Red Cross has maintained an outstanding record of voluntary humanitarian services, fulfilling with high dedication and skill the obligations of its congressional charter.”

–President Gerald R. Ford, accepting position of Honorary Chairman, 1974

“Traditionally, March is Red Cross Month. During this period I hope all Americans will reflect of the selflessness that has led so many of our neighbors to serve the Red Cross-and their fellow Americans- with their time, their energy, and their love. We can follow their example by supporting our local Red Cross chapter.”

–President Jimmy Carter, 1977 Proclamation

“With unfailing resourcefulness, zeal, and compassion, Red Cross volunteers have proved equal to the challenges of our time. In peace and in war, they have reflected the humanitarian instincts of the American people.”

–President Ronald Reagan, 1981 Proclamation

“[F]or millions of people in need. . .the Red Cross is a brilliant point of light-part of that vast galaxy of individuals, businesses, schools, churches, synagogues, and voluntary associations working together to solve problems. . . . For 109 years that star has shone anytime there has been a need-anywhere there is a need. And today it dazzles still. . . .providing light at the end of the tunnel, a rainbow through the clouds.”

–President George Bush, at a ceremony at national headquarters, 1990

“Its [the American Red Cross’s] commitment to caring for others enables us to restore hope in the lives of injured citizens, and its example challenges us to revitalize the covenant of American citizenship. The long-term strength of our nation depends upon our willingness to live out the ideals long embodied by the American Red Cross. To celebrate our past and to safeguard our future, I am proud to commend the countless individuals whose courage and selflessness have sustained this organization for more than a century.”

–President Bill Clinton, 1995 Proclamation

“By donating their time and energy to selflessly serve others, American Red Cross volunteers demonstrate the compassion and generosity for which Americans are known. Their service paves the way to a brighter future for our citizens and people around the world.”

–President George W. Bush, 2006 Proclamation

“The Red Cross has continued to serve those suffering from large- and small-scale disasters. The organization is best known for its work helping communities deal with major disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. These large-scale disasters represent a major part of the work of the American Red Cross. Just as important are the tens of thousands of small-scale disasters that occur every day in communities nationwide, and the volunteers who respond to them. These efforts include supporting our military and their families, collecting and distributing blood, helping the needy, delivering health and safety education, and providing aid abroad.”

–President Barack Obama, 2009 Proclamation

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