Mother’s Day had its origin in the United States soon after the Civil War. In 1870, Julia Ward Howe issued the original Mother’s Day Proclamation shown below. This statement promoted disarmament, the promotion of peace, and the end of bloodshed. What a powerful proclamation!
There is no sentimental mention of cards, flowers, or jewelry.
Anna Jarvis actually founded Mother’s Day in honor of her mother Anna Reeves Jarvis who was an activist for health and sanitary conditions for children in the 1850’s and 60’s. She was led to this activism by way of her own personal tragedy of losing eight of her twelve children to diseases.
Anna Jarvis wanted a day to raise the appreciation for mothers and for what matters most to them, the health and safety of their children. She wound up so against the commercialization of Mother’s Day that she spent every last dime fighting against it.
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies;
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. ”
From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. ”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
-Julia Ward Howe, 1870
Thanks for posting this, Donna.
I love the historic roots of Mother’s Day. If moms and women had their way, their would be no war or militarism. A friend commented to me that his father fought in WWII and Korea but by the end of his life concluded that war was not for the benefit of people but for the egos of a relative handful of rich and powerful men.
I thought it particularly poignant in this time and place, given the shooting at the Mother’s Day parade in New Orleans today: wounding 17 (see: http://news.yahoo.com/police-17-wounded-orleans-parade-shooting-221419212.html). What if instead of presenting mom a flower or a gift of a pretty hanky, churches were places where women gathered on Mother’s Day to work for peace. This message needs to get out!