Men's Articles

Happy Mother's Day


Restaurants, gift shops and florists should cheer this weekend as cash registers begin ringing for Mother's Day. In most countries which mark it, the second Sunday of May has become a largely commercial affair, though with a genuine desire to show appreciation for mothers. Many people may not know that the modern movement for Mother's Day is linked with an American woman called Julia Ward Howe, an activist for peace and female suffrage in the 19th century.

She tried to get a Mother's Day for Peace recognised as an official holiday after the American Civil War, but failed. In 1870, Howe penned the Mother's Day Proclamation, which little resembles how we celebrate it today. It said: 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."

In this day and age, more than a century after she wrote them, her words are still-painfully - redolent. Howe was influenced by another extraordinary woman, Ann Jarvis, who organised women during the civil war to work for better sanitary conditions on both sides. It was Jarvis' daughter, Anna, who worked to have Mother's Day recognised as a national holiday, succeeding in 1914.

There is a persistent rumor that she was all the more anxious to do so because she had quarrelled with her own mother, who died before they could be reconciled. Life unfolds in so many ways we can't foresee. All we can do is make the most of today. On Mother's Day, let's make peace with those whom we love, and may no mother ever have to mourn again the death of her child to war and violence.

 

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