Thursday, May 6, 2010

Peaceful proclamation

Posted on Thu, May 6, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Today Mother’s Day is all about honoring our mothers with flowers and gifts. But the idea of Mother’s Day in the United States arose out of a desire for peace.

In 1870, Julia Ward Howe, in reaction to the horrors of death and carnage of the Civil War, wrote the following proclamation calling on mothers of the nation to come together and protest what she saw as the futility of their sons killing the sons of other mothers. She called for an international Mother’s Day celebrating peace and motherhood.

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 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 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 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 had penned “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in 1902. The U.S. Congress approved Mother’s Day in 1914.

Happy Mother’s Day, Montana!

Lynn Peters

Suzanne Luepke

Polson

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