WHEN Rumania's fight was ended and peace was forced on her, the Allied
Commissions (and among them the Commission of the American Red Cross)
could remain no longer. There was only one way out. It was through
troubled, torn Russia. In almost continual apprehension of both the German
invaders and possible unfriendly Russian revolutionists, the party
journeyed 2,500 miles, suffering not only the dangers of war but the
hardships of a rigorous climate, including a trip over frozen Lapland,
before at last there was the greeting of friendly flags on friendly ships
in the Arctic Sea that offered egress into a friendly world again.
There was a recollection, however, that served to
sustain all members of the party through all privations. It was the memory
of the tearful farewell from the Rumanian people—a benediction of
gratitude from high and low.
When the Commission went to Rumania, it was with
instructions to make merely a survey of conditions (which it was supposed
would demand only a few weeks) and to return to the United States with its
report. On arrival in Rumania, however, they found the nation in so sore a
plight, lacking everything from food and clothing to medicine, that it was
decided that at least a part of the Commission must remain indefinitely to
do what work it could. It was a land of woe and death. Typhus was abroad.
But without hesitation two-thirds of the members said that they would
stayed through such an evil time of famine and contagious sickness and
utter destitution as few countries ever have suffered. They stayed
through a time of isolation when Rumania was almost utterly sealed from
the world. America's great fountain of supplies was useless, for little or
nothing could get through. They stayed, and they worked, and they
succeeded. Rumania never will forget America; and there is no Rumanian,
high or low, who did not learn to bless the starry flag that floated from
the relief stations.
isolated little group of Red Cross workers built a hospital. I t became
known as the best in the country. It opened an orphanage that gathered in
the children robbed of their parents.