>The Original Mothers Day for Peace

>What better year than 2007 to remember the origin of Mothers Day? [link] Or, to read the initial 1870 Mothers Day Proclamation by Julia Ward Howe? And, to remember that it was this message that influenced Anna Jarvis, who in turn was memorialized by her daughter Anna with efforts to promote a Mothers Day in the United States. Ironically, Mothers Day was declared a ‘national day’ by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914 — on April 6, 1917 Congress declared war and the U.S. entered the carnage in Europe. Mrs. Howe wrote:

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered 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.

Tucked into the 670 pages of the No Child Left Behind Act was an amendment by Louisiana Representative David Vitter (R-LA) to require high schools to release the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all students to military recruiters. [MJ]

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.”

The Iraqi taxi driver had three sons. His eldest was killed along with other civilians in a car bomb attack in Fallujah. His second son went to secondary school one day and has never returned home. His third son lost an eye to shrapnel from a road side bomb. His wife anxiously answers every knock on the door, especially at night, thinking that the kidnappers release their prisoners at night and their second son may be coming home. [McClatchy]

From the voice of a 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.

Mrs. Howe’s words seem to have made little impression on Vice President Dick Cheney who went to the Persian Gulf to make a speech: “Throughout the region our country has interests to protect and commitments to honor,” Cheney told Navy staff aboard the USS John C. Stennis. “With two carrier strike groups in the Gulf, we’re sending clear messages to friends and adversaries alike. We’ll keep the sea lanes open. We’ll stand with our friends in opposing extremism and strategic threats. We’ll disrupt attacks on our own forces. We’ll continue bringing relief to those who suffer and delivering justice to the enemies of freedom.” [WaPo]

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 –

Twin suicide car bombings struck police checkpoints at bridges in a Shi’a neighborhood in Baghdad, killing at least 23 people on Friday. [WaPo] 3,393 members of the U.S. Armed Forces have died thus far in Iraq. [Icas]

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 someplace deemed most convenient
And 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.
[source]

Mrs. Howe, who did not get “five deferments,” worked in Civil War hospitals, and was so offended by the lyrics of “John Brown’s Body lies a mouldering in the grave” that she penned the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” to place the focus of the war on the abolition of slavery, was paid a grand total of $5 for her poem by the editor of the Atlantic Monthly. [link] Evidently, our Republic isn’t paying much more attention than that trivial amount to the sentiments and intentions of her opening call for a national Mothers Day.

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