Happy Mother’s Day! I wonder how many Americans know that Julia Ward Howe, the mother behind Mother’s Day, was a pacifist? In fact, she envisioned Mother’s Day as a time when women would unite against war. In 1870, she published her “Mother’s Day Proclamation” which said, in part:
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 our 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.
Do you imagine that the boys of the Bush administration will be talking about the true meaning of Mother’s Day when they call mom tomorrow? I am guessing- -not.