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History of the Red Cross

In October 1863, The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was created in Geneva, Switzerland, to provide nonpartisan care to the wounded and sick in times of war. The Red Cross emblem was adopted at this first International Conference as a symbol of neutrality and was to be used by national relief societies. The symbol is composed of five equal squares, sometimes referred to as a Greek cross. It was chosen because it is a reverse of the colors of the Swiss flag and because the red cross on a background of white was easily recognized and reproducible on battlefields.

The Geneva Conventions now recognize two emblems that are currently in use, the red cross and the red crescent (used in most Muslim countries). The red shield of David emblem used by Israel, while not in the Geneva Conventions, is also a respected emblem. The emblem is the symbol used by the Magen David Adom, Israel's humanitarian relief organization.

In August 1864, the Geneva Convention Treaty was signed by the representatives of 12 governments. The extraordinary efforts of Henry Dunant led to the eventual establishment of the International Red Cross.

The founding of the American Red Cross in 1881 was due to the devotion and dedication of Clara Barton. Today, the organization's actions, guided by its dedication to humanity and a desire to promote mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation, and lasting peace amongst all peoples, follow these fundamental principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality.

Heart of Oklahoma Chapter History

The Cleveland County Chapter of the American Red Cross began with a meeting on April 3, 1917 in the Framing Opera House. A group of citizens devoted to the war effort met to pledge support to President Wilson, Congress, and to the United States of America. Later, they petitioned for the authority to form a Red Cross chpater to support the war effort. The charter for this chapter was granted on May 22, 1917.

In 1998, the Cleveland County chapter merged with the Garvin County chapter and annexed the McClain County service area. As of this merger and annexation, the Heart of Oklahoma chapter was formed. The Heart of Oklahoma chpater serves all three counties with a branch office in Garvin County in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.

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The Heart of Oklahoma Chapter - American Red Cross
1205 Halley Drive - Norman, OK 73069-8413
Phone: (405) 321-0591 Fax: (405) 364-7640