Volume 13 Number 9 1918
The Flight From Rumania
By Captain James A. Mills
Secretary of the American Red Cross Commission to Rumania

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 remain.
     They 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.
     That 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.