Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Mother's Day Proclamation

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 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 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 an 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 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 woman 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.

Julia Ward Howe, today, is best remembered as the lyricist of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Howe, an abolitionist, after the Civil War, embraced the women's suffrage movement and pacifism.  In 1870 in reaction to the carnage of the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War, she suggested that June second should be commemorated as an international Mother's Day.  But not, as a day to honor motherhood but as a day when the mothers of the world would gather together and work for an end to war.  She also wrote The Mother's Day Proclamation to publicize her movement.  The modern version of Mother's Day, was proposed by Anna Jarvis in 1908.

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