The observance of a special day for Mothers dates back to ancient Greece; though the dates are different, cultures world-wide know the significance of honoring those who touch and influence our lives.
First declared in 1872, Julia Ward Howe (author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”) proposed an annual Mother’s Day for Peace. Committed to abolishing war, Howe wrote: “Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage… 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”.
Howe, a Civil War nurse who tended to the wounds of soldiers during the war; later working with widows and orphans, desired to build a better world for the next generation. Mother’s Day for Peace was a call to bring women together to bring healing & peace to all of humanity and celebrated women’s political engagement in society with a mission to “remember what matters,” paying tribute to the individual and validating our universal values.
Nineteenth century women dared to dream of a day that honored women’s civil activism. To the activists, the connection between motherhood and the fight for social and economic justice seemed self-evident.
For the next 30 years, Americans celebrated Mothers’ Day for Peace on June 2 as a holiday that commemorated women’s public activism. It has become a celebration of a mother’s devotion to her family.
In 1913, Congress declared the second Sunday in May to be Mother’s Day.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers, aunts, godmothers, grandmothers, mentors, sisters, and all women who work for peace, justice and equality. May we remind each other what has real and authentic meaning and weave that recognition into our daily lives.