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Happy Mother's Day.

One of the early proponents was Julia Ward Howe. She was influenced by Anna Reeve Jarvis, a West Virginian woman who worked for improved sanitation before and during the Civil War. She pushed for 'Mothers' Work Days' and prominently attempted to reconcile North and South after the Civil War.

Here is Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation, written in 1870 as a pacifist reaction to the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War:

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided 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 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 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 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.

Howe was not successful in her campaign to establish a Mother's Day celebration. The cause was continued by Anna Jarvis.

The first well documented celebration of Mother's Day was in Grafton, West Virginia on May 10, 1908 in the Andrews Methodist Church (where Anne Jarvis, daughter of Anna Reeve Jarvis, and a vigorous proponent of Mother's Day had taught Sunday School).

The American version of Mother's Day became official with Woodrow Wilson's proclamation in 1914.

Over the next few decades it became progressively more commercialized (a Hallmark Holiday?) and was then opposed by Anna Jarvis. It is now one of the most commercially successful U.S. Holidays and the most popular day of the year to dine out (according to the National Restaurant Association).

The British version, Mothering Sunday, occurs during Lent and stems from the 16th Century Christian practice of visiting one's mother church, with the result that on this Sunday, most mothers would be reunited with their children.

What are YOU doing today?

Peter Elias
Hope all mothers will be happy forever!

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