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.
– Julia Ward Howe
Howe, who had previously written the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, was so disturbed by the carnage of the Civil War and grieved by the destruction of families and the loss of their sons to war that she issued a call for an International Mother’s Day for peace and unity.
Howe’s version of Mother’s Day caught on for about three years before it faded away, mostly because she couldn’t afford to continue paying for the celebrations herself. The cause was taken up by Anna Reeves Jarvis, leader of a West Virginia women’s group. After Jarvis died, her daughter, Anna M. Jarvis not only campaigned for the official recognition of Mother’s Day but spent her entire life fighting its commercialization. She felt that business interests were expoiting the holiday and taking focus away from its intended purpose: peace.
Jarvis died in a mental hospital in 1948 childless, penniless from her continued legal battles, and blind.
breathe Peace for your mothers today~
This is a reprint of my blog post from Mother’s Day, 2010.