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EXIT of the DAY:
Clara Barton Service Plaza, EXT 6: I-276 to PA Turnpike, N Stumpy Rd, Pedricktown, NJ 08067 County, NJ
Upcoming is an on-highway service station that like many in New Jersey is dedicated to a famous resident. This service station offers a new interpretation for the word service. It is dedicated to Clara Barton. The ultimate frontline worker, Clara Barton was one of the first women to serve on the frontlines in a war. Without regard to personal injury she gave aid to the wounded and dying. So why not stop by and check out the Clara Barton Service Plaza? You can grab a snack, fill up on fuel, and learn more about this remarkable woman.
You see, until recently American Women were prohibited from serving on the front lines in many battles: in war, in medicine and even in education.
As thousands of female healthcare workers step up to the front line, we must question as a nation how we could have ever doubted such bravery, capacity, and compassion?
Back before the Civil War in 1852, Clara Barton was contracted to open a free school. It would become the first “Public School” in America. The young woman worked ceaselessly since she had believed she had found her life's "Calling". The future founder of the Red Cross in America was successful. A replica of this schoolhouse stands on Burlington Street in upcoming Bordentown, New Jersey.
After a year, Clara hired another woman. Apparently she needed just two women to teach over 600 pupils. Both women took home a whopping $250 a year.
This accomplishment compelled the town to raise nearly $4,000 for a new school building. Once completed, Clara was abruptly replaced as Principal by a man elected by the school-board. They saw the position as head of a school to be unfitting for a lady. She was demoted to "female assistant".
Clara Barton quit. And like many of us, her bad stretch affected her mental health. She suffered a nervous breakdown and was chronically depressed. Then summoning hope from darkness, just before her father died, in 1861, Clara Barton was able to talk to him about the Civil War. Her father convinced her that it was her duty as a Christian to help the soldiers.
In the spring of 1862, following his death, Clara went to Washington to gather medical supplies. Ladies' Aid Societies helped in gathering bandages, food, and clothing that would later be distributed during the Civil War.
Petitioning non-stop to be near the battle fields to be of most help, in August of 1862, Clara finally gained permission from male overlords to work on the front lines. She gained support from other people who believed in her cause. She cleaned field hospitals, applied dressings, and served food to wounded soldiers.
Always agitating to get closer to those who needed her most, she eventually found herself within bullet range in several battles including Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg.
Her selfless dedication inspired other ladies to wander active battles seeking to administer triage to the wounded and dying.
In one battle, Clara was bandaging a wounded soldier. A bullet tore through the sleeve of her dress. She held up her forearm; it had missed her by inches. She then looked down. The bullet had killed the wounded soldier.
Finally recognized at the time by the Union Army for her smarts and bravery, in 1864 Clara Barton was officially appointed by Union General Benjamin Butler as the "lady in charge" of all hospitals at the front. For time evermore, for her selfless dedication and nerve, she became known as the "Angel of the Battlefield.”
Later she would go on to found The American Red Cross. This time no man dared take her place.
On the bloodiest frontlines of American History, the teacher from New Jersey had finally found her calling.
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