mnpACT!: Original Mother’s Day Was a War Protest
Posted: 05/08/11 17:04 by James Johnson
Today we celebrate Mother’s Day. As we honor our mothers we might remember Mother’s Day was founded by anti—war abolitionist Julia Ward Howe to help women who had lost their sons and husbands in the Civil War to deal with their sorrow and suffering. Howe, who wrote the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” was moved by the cruelty of the American, as well as the Franco-Prussian war, and declared a day to mourn those who had died. She became a pacifist, horrified by the carnage that had been displayed during these battles.
Howe wrote her Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870, several years after the end of the Civil War because of the many soldiers who returned home from the war who appeared to be OK in body, but who suffered mental maladies that endured throughout their lives. Just as today’s military return from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD and who commit suicide because of their internal damage, soldiers from the other wars suffered terribly from their experiences dealing with the destruction of other human beings. As General Sherman of the Union forces had said, “war is hell.” Anyone who thinks otherwise has never been in battle.
Mother’s Day isn’t just a time for flowers and candy to honor our mothers; rather, it is a time to pledge that no mothers in the future will have to endure the pain of losing their families to the ravages of war. For a country that spends more money on the military than anything else in society, we would do ourselves a favor to solve our budget woes by seriously cutting our defense budget and putting that money to work to help Americans improve their quality of life.
So, let’s pledge on this Mother’s Day to honor the spirit of Julia Ward Howe and demand that our leaders stop the wars and work for peace around the world. That would be the greatest gift…..to advocate for peace and justice instead of hatred and killing. Help your mother to remember our past, and ask her to remember the real spirit of the day. Happy Mother’s Day. And peace be with you.