In response to horror of the Civil War and committed to abolishing war everywhere, Julia Ward Howe, author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, wrote a proclamation calling for women to rise up and declare themselves against war and for peace. She called it Mother’s Day of Peace and celebrated the day every June 2 as part of her annual peace festival. The original idea came from Anna Reeves Jarvis who organized Mother’s Work Days in West Virginia. These women cared for the wounded from both sides during the war and worked for war’s end.
Here is Howe’s proclamation. The words are as true for today as they were over a hundred years ago. Share it with those you love.
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
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
Julia Ward Howe
Learn more at http://www.peace.ca/mothersdayproclamation.htm
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