Friday, August 3, 2012

The Queen's Appeal

Above is a facsimile of the Belgian queen's earnest appeal to the women of America for humanitarian aid for her people during the cruel German occupation of World War I. I always love Elisabeth's bold, regal signature.
I have learned with gratification of the noble and effective work being done by American citizens and officials on behalf of my stricken people. I confidently hope that their efforts will receive the ungrudging support which we have learned to expect from the generous womanhood of America.
We mothers of Belgium no less than the mothers of America have for generations instilled in our children the instincts and the love of peace. We asked no greater boon than to live in peace and friendship with all the world. We have provoked no war, yet in defense of our hearthstones our country has been laid waste from end to end.
The flow of commerce has ceased and my people are faced with famine. The terrors of starvation with the consequences of disease and violence menace the unoffending civilian population- the aged, the infirm, the women and the children.
American officials and citizens in Belgium and England, alive to their country's traditions, have created an organization under the protection of their Government and are already sending food to my people. I hope that they may receive the fullest sympathy and aid from every side.
I need not say that I and my people shall always hold in grateful remembrance the proven friendship of America in this hour of need. (Hugh Gibson, Diplomatic Diary, 1917, p. 303)

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