As we celebrate mothers of all forms and being, those carrying and bearing life, laboring to nourish and to nurture, guiding, teaching, holding, comforting, soothing, showing, listening, singing to and being with … Let us also remember where Mother’s Day originally came from and its purpose–a purpose that in its own way represents the yearning and dedication, hope and tenacity of mothering:
“let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace…” (from the proclamation below)
Here is to peace. To no more carnage. To love. To hope. To no more lost children. To counsel of heart and reason. To no more war.
Mothers’ Day Proclamation / Julia Ward Howe (1870)
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 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 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 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 learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of 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, Abolitionist–she also wrote “Battle Hymn of the Republic”)