Monday, May 08, 2006


This is Julia Ward Howe who is better known for writing the words to The Battle Hymn of the Republic than for the Mother's Day Proclamation that she wrote in 1870.

Although she succeeded in broad acceptance for her idea of Mothers' Peace Day Observance on the second Sunday in June, she was unable to get recognition for it as an official national holiday. Nevertheless, it was Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Peace Day that led to Mother's Day as we now celebrate it in May.

However, Mother's Day as we celebrate it today with flowers, candy and taking Mom out to dinner is very different from Julia's original concept thinking of it as a Mother's Day for Peace, a day on which women speak out in their own voices against war and aggression. For her, Mother's Peace Day was a call to activism.

We urge you to echo her voice this Sunday and to remember all the mothers who have lost their children to war or whose daily lives are filled with images of their children fighting in a war of any kind anywhere in the world.

Mother's Peace Day Proclamation of 1870

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.
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 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.
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 -
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.


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