On August 19, 2003, a truck bomb exploded in Baghdad, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more -- 18 of the deceased were UN staff. The day has been unofficially commemorated every year since then in honor of the sacrifice of humanitarian aid workers around the world. This year, however, will officially recognize the anniversary of what is now known as World Humanitarian Day.
2010's World Humanitarian Day pays particular tribute to 10 international medical volunteers who were recently murdered in Afghanistan. The memory of their tragedy is joined by a commemoration of more than 700 aid workers who have given their lives in service over the past decade. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton released a short statement about the day:
Providing humanitarian aid to help rebuild lives is a core commitment of the United States. Relief workers embody the universal truth that we are at our best when we come together to help the most vulnerable among us. Time and again, this ideal puts humanitarian workers on the front lines of crises, from the earthquake in Haiti to the floods in Pakistan or any of the conflicts that dot the globe. For their selflessness, their courage, and their sacrifice, they have our deepest admiration and respect. The United States is fully committed to doing everything we can to provide for their safety and security, and to give them the tools they need to continue their indispensable mission on our behalf.
Watch the UN's video promoting WHD: