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Mothers Day and World peace

Julia Ward Howe - she who wrote the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and later came to regret it becuse it glorified war, is the guiding spirit behind Mother's Day and it's a spirit of world peace. I learned this from an editorial page column in the New Bedford Standard-Times, but unfortunately it vanished into their archives before I could link to it.

Still, it is instructive to read the first Mothers Day proclamation made in Boston in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe - and wonder why, more than a century later, we are still ignoring the wisdom in it:

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 decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of 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 to 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 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 solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his 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 women without limit of nationality 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.

Posted by Greg Stone at May 10, 2004 05:12 AM
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