Mother's Day was orininally known as Mother's Day for Peace. It was started by Civil War women whose husbands and sons were killed in the Civil War
Women created Mothers Day for Peace after the Civil War
By Elaine Charkowski
Original Mother's Day Proclamation
By Julia Ward Howe Boston1870
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of tears!
Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not betaken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.
We women of one country will be too tender to 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
Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow 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 then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place 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."
Anti -War Mother's Day for Peace was turned into a sentimental day to sell candy and flowers
Most people associate Mother's Day with flowers and sentimental Mothers Day cards. However, Mothers Day was created as an anti-war protest by women whose sons were killed by their fellow Americans in the Civil War.
Writer and social-justice activist Julia Ward Howe (1819-1899) was born in New York City. She was the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her works include The Life of Margaret Fuller (1883), From Sunset Ridge: Poems Old and New (1898), and Reminiscences 1819-1899 (1899).
She was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church. In 1870, she wrote the Mothers Day Proclamation to inspire the world's women to protect their sons by ending war.
Howe worked for social justice with her husband Samuel Gridley Howe who wrote for the Boston Commonwealth, an anti-slavery newspaper. She visited a Union army camp and wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Howe also fought for women's rights and founded the New England Woman's Club, The Association for the Advancement of Women, and headed the American branch of the Woman's International Peace Association.
Below is a history (herstory) of Mother's Day and some of the accomplishments of Howe and other women activists. Unfortunately their struggle to promote peace was largely unpublicized by today's male-dominated so-called culture that obsesses over "important" issues such as a president's sex life, the O.J. Simpson trial or whether "god" should be in the Pledge of Allegiance
The Creation and Mutation of Mother's Day
•1858- Social-justice activist Anna Reeves Jarvis organizes "Mother's Works Days" in West Virginia to improve sanitation in Appalachian communities. During the Civil War, Jarvis encourages women to leave their families to care for wounded soldiers on both sides. She organizes meetings to persuade men to stop killing each other.
•1870-Julia Ward Howe writes the anti-war Mothers Day Proclamation
•1872-Howe proposes an annual Mother's Day for Peace. For the next 30 years, Americans celebrate Mothers' Day for Peace on June 2.
•1913-Congress declares the 2nd Sunday in May as Mother's Day (it's no longer Mothers Day for Peace). The growing consumer culture redefines women as "consumers." Greedy businessmen and politicians embrace the idea of making money from the sacrifices of mothers. According to the trade journal the Florists' Review, "This was a holiday that could be exploited."
The daughter of Anna Jarvis campaigned against those who "would undermine Mother's Day with their greed" by selling expensive flowers. Unfortunately within a few years, the Florists' Review announced that it was "Miss Jarvis who was completely squelched."
•1980's-An echo of the original Mother's Day for Peace; several pacifist groups demonstrate against war on Mother's Day.
Mother's Day ballooned into a billion-dollar industry. Ruth Rosen, professor of history at UC Davis said, "Americans may revere the idea of motherhood and love their own mothers, but not all mothers. Poor, unemployed mothers may enjoy flowers, but they also need child care, job training, health care, a higher minimum wage and paid parental leave.
"Imagine, if you can, an annual Million Mother March in the nation's capital. Imagine a Mother's Day filled with voices demanding social and economic justice and a sustainable future, rather than speeches studded with syrupy platitudes," Rosen said.
The connection between motherhood, peace and social justice was clear to many 19th century middle-class women. As mothers, they felt was their responsibility to care for the casualties of society and turn America into a more civilized nation.
We must restore Mother's Day for Peace as an anti-war holiday. Let's celebrate women's political achievements so the Peace Crusade of Julia Ward Howe, the struggles of Anna Reeves Jarvis and all the other women (whose names are lost in the past) were not in vain.
The best way to honor mothers is not with sappy sentimentality. We must raise hell and demonstrate against war and forbid our children from joining the military.
Ultimately, it's up to the world's women (who give birth and thus, know the value of life), to inspire the world's men to help them create a world in which slain veterans exist only in the past.