OPINION: The Real Meaning of Mother’s Day

by Elisabeth Hebert, Northfield

Ithought it would be nice to remind people what Mother’s Day really is. What do you think of printing this declaration:

Please share this with every Mother you know. Although this was written in 1870 this proclamation rings just as true today.

Woman is a channel to bring forth life into the world and it is her responsibility to protect life. MOTHER’S DAY was not a male created holiday for women to be pampered with flowers, cards or gifts. That is a total misrepresentation of what this day was created for. And with so many of our holidays, all that remains is what the marketing industries would have us all believe it is, a time to BUY more stuff. This special day was set aside by women for women to remember their responsibility to protect and nurture all life upon this planet.

MOTHERS, it is time to take back OUR DAY. Let us come together in council as wise women who can show our men a different way to walk upon the planet, one that sustains life.

The First Mother’s Day Proclamation, 1870

Arise, then, women of this day!

Arise all women who have hearts.

Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears!

Say firmly:

We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies.

Our husbands shall 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 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 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. —

By Julia Ward Howe, Boston, 1870

Did you know that Mother’s Day was suggested as a day of peace in the United States by Julia Ward Howe who protested the carnage of war in her bold proclamation of 1870? Decades later in 1907, the first Mother’s Day observance was held at a church service honoring the memory of Anna Reese Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia. Jarvis, an Appalachian homemaker, organized women during the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions and to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.

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