You may be aware that the first Mother's Day celebration in 1872 was called "Mother's Peace Day." Julia Ward Howe, author and activist, penned the "Mother's Day Proclamation," calling on women to rise up and challenge the devastating war machine. Howe was outraged over the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War.
She also composed the song "Battle Hymn of the Republic," more widely known than her peace-oriented writings.
Please remind everyone you can, that Mother's Day started with Howe's efforts to organize an international Women's Peace Congress in 1872. It was not created by Hallmark or Wal-Mart, for flocks of holiday shoppers.
On Mother's Day we honor the women who nurture; who love without conditions; who forever express the value of human life.
Yet we all value life, and we can express our values.
This Mother's Day, we can stand up for peace. Peace within ourselves, our families, every-day contacts, and the entire planet. Do what you can (even a small gesture has an effect).
By focusing on love rather than fear, we can promote harmony and reconciliation. "And the light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has not overpowered it." (1 John, 5 - from the Bible)
Raise your voice, this Mother's Day. Tell your representatives in Congress that Mother's Peace Day was a response to the senseless killings in the 1870's, and likewise, we demand an end to the killing now. Remind them of those who profit hugely from the machinery and reconstruction business of war. Yes, our rep's know about this, but they turn a blind eye, and we can remind them. Mother's Day is one way.
Julia Ward Howe held a vision of women gathering "to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace."
Read the entire Mother's Day Proclamation:
1872, By Julia Ward Howe
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. 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 counsel.
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.
Ann Marina is a freelance writer in Bonita Springs, Florida. Her e-mail address is: email@example.com