In 1870, Julia Ward Howe wrote and published a protest against the carnage and violence of the Civil War -- this was a protest led by WOMEN WHO HAD LOST THEIR SONS!!!!! It was bereaved mothers who started this!!!! Hallmark is WAY OFF the mark with the way this holiday is commercialized and propagated now, BUT in the beginning, this was a day of protest, an expression of horrified grief from bereaved mothers who were parted from their sons!! Wow. Okay. That's a different spin.
So what did Julia have to say back in 1870? You read and see for yourself:
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!
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 of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our 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 bearing after their 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
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Image by Gabludlow via Flickr
To all mothers whose children died before their time...
I decided to come out of the closet: I hate Mother's Day!
I know "hate" is a strong word, but I really do hate the date. Why? Because it has become a Hallmark holiday. Because I don't need a special day to tell my mom I love her. Because I don't like how consumerism force my children into feeling bad if they don't "give" me a gift to show me their love. Because I don't need a special day to go out and eat with my family.
OK, I admit that the date has become more of a nuisance since my oldest baby died. But I can honestly say that I don't like the date at all, even now when I have three living children that fill my days with love and my arms with their hugs.
I don't need flowers or gifts to know I am appreciated by my children and my husband. I don't want them to feel obligated to do something special for me on a set date. I appreciate their small gestures everyday, those are the ones that let me know that I am loved.
So, back to the title of today's post. I am here quoting my dear friend Kara, from whose blog I copy the following:
You see? Mother's Day is about those women that lost their children to death. It is not about gifts, flowers, small appliances and cards. Is about compassion and love... Love that survives beyond death.