|Julia Ward Howe|
From TruthDig: In 1870, Julia Ward Howe responded to the horrors of the Civil War by issuing her “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” calling on women around the world to rise up and oppose war in all its forms. Julia Ward Howe is perhaps best known today for having written the words to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in 1862 when she was an antislavery activist.
It would be decades before Americans officially began celebrating Mother’s Day, and much of the original spirit of the proclamation has since been lost. The Brave New Foundation, Code Pink and No More Victims are leading a movement to restore that spirit to the day, and for that we applaud them.
Here are the words to the original Mother’s Day Proclamation:
“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.”