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196   DAYS OF PREPARATION

"Red Cross" stands for "war relief" of all kinds, and it would be sheer pedantry to suppose that an article upon "Red Cross" activities in Canada should record only the work of the Red Cross Society. Such an article would give a doubly false impression; for it would rob the army of the credit of the splendid record of the Canadian Army Medical Corps, and would give but a very partial and limited description of the patriotic work accomplished by voluntary societies.

Therefore, having made clear the proper limitation of the term, we shall proceed to describe, under the general term "Red Cross Work," the activities of all the larger voluntary societies, with the exception of the Patriotic Fund, which demands an article devoted solely to its wide activities.

But before describing this work, we may well spend a short time in discussing the necessity and even the advisability of voluntary effort, since both have been questioned during the war.

It has been often asked why it should be necessary to appeal to the general public for assistance of any kind—should not the Government do all that is required for the brave men who have often sacrificed good financial prospects as well as health and ease to serve their country in the forces? Why should these men require any assistance which could conceivably be regarded as a charity?

The difficulties implied in such questions are disposed of when the inspiring motive of Red Cross work is considered. The aim of the Red Cross is to provide an outlet for the love and gratitude of a people towards its protectors; its essence is spontaneity; the "Red Cross" is not a conscript but a volunteer. Its existence implies no slur upon the Government's efficiency, for its sphere of action begins where governmental action ceases. It stands as the aggregate of the nation's love and care for the sick member of the family under circumstances in

',See page 170, et seq.


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