by Neena Strichart
While getting ready to write my column this week, I found that everything I wanted to write about regarding Mother’s Day felt like a giant déjà vu. In doing a search through my computer, I found an article that I wrote three years ago on the subject. Rather than to try to just move the same words around for this week’s message, I am re-running that particular column below. For those of you who haven’t read it before, I hope you enjoy it. For those of you who read it back then, I’m sorry for repeating myself, but hey, why reinvent the wheel?
I offer a big Happy Mother’s Day wish to all of you grandmothers, mothers, mothers-to-be, stepmothers or those who have “been like a mother” to someone in need of mothering.
In doing a bit of research about Mother’s Day I ran across the website mothersdaycentral.com . There I learned many things about the history of the day we celebrate every year on the second Sunday of May. Here is what I discovered…
It appears that Americans can thank Julia Ward Howe, the author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” for starting the ball rolling toward a day dedicated to mothers. As the story goes, Ms. Howe was so dreadfully upset by the deaths of so many young men during the Civil War that she asked our country’s mothers to unite and publically oppose the senselessness of sons killing other mother’s sons– an act which left our country’s mothers inconsolable.
Doing her best to stop the bloodshed, Ms. Howe declared the need for an international Mother’s Day with the following message:
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of 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 of ten 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 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 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.
In 1914, six years after Howe’s death, President Woodrow Wilson signed the holiday into national observance, declaring the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
For more details on the history of Mother’s Day go to your local library, visit mothersdaycentral.com or check out a host of other informational websites.
Today we celebrate the day with greeting cards, dinners, long-distance phone calls, visits and sweets for moms. Those who have lost their mothers visit cemeteries and bring flowers by the armfuls. I am lucky to still have my mother well and kicking. She is a true blessing to me and to the rest of our family– we think everyday should be Mother’s Day!
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, and a huge thank-you for all you do for us. With much love.