Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Holiday Movie Cameo

By Kelly Norton, Volunteer Contributor

"Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends."

"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."

"Is this toothbrush approved by the American Dental Association?"

This time of year, I find that I frequently quote holiday movies in normal conversation. Do you have a favorite holiday movie?
I have a list of movies that I traditionally watch every year and find it's a great way to get in the holiday spirit. The list includes old classic like It's a Wonderful Life, cartoons like Frosty the Snowman, and more recent comedies like ELF. My absolute favorite holiday movie though is White Christmas. This 1954 film is a musical about two successful entertainers, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, who put on a show at an inn in Vermont with two sisters. The inn is owned by their beloved World War II commanding officer, General Waverly. There's a lot more to the story, but I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't seen it! 

While watching the movie recently, I noticed something I hadn't before. In the beginning scenes, when Wallace and Davis are serving in the Army in Europe, you can see a Red Cross vehicle in the background! 

I've read the history of the Red Cross, but not specifically the World War II time period. So, I paused the movie and did some research. Here are some facts that I discovered about the American Red Cross during WWII:
  • More than 104,000 nurses were recruited by the American Red Cross to serve in military hospitals both in the U.S. and overseas
  • 27 million packages were prepared for American and Allied prisoners of war
  • Over 300,000 tons of supplies were shipped overseas
  • At the military's request, the Red Cross initiated a national blood program that collected 13.3 million pints of blood for use by the armed forces
  • 78 Red Cross workers died while serving their country overseas during the war
Although I wasn't expecting this "cameo" by the Red Cross when watching White Christmas, I'm so glad it inspired me to learn more about the history of service that Red Cross volunteers have provided in the past. It made me even more thankful for the many volunteers who are continuing this tradition today.

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