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The Real Mother's Day?
May 8, 2003 9:42 AM   Subscribe

The real meaning of Mothers Day: it's not just for hallmark anymore. "Mother's Day was started after the Civil War by women who had lost their sons. The following excerpts from the original Mother's Day Proclamation by Julia Ward Howe in 1870 are a timeless reminder of the profound loss and pain war creates for all mothers..." What I foolishly thought was a cheap ploy to sell greeting cards and flowers turns out to be a big day for peace (started by the writer of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, no less), and history backs this up [via oaktown].
posted by mathowie (15 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
[this is good...thanks]
posted by Dunvegan at 10:12 AM on May 8, 2003


Aw, thanks, Matt! This is my first Mother's Day, and I was thinking it was all a ploy, too. I'm going to send these links to my own mommy. And to my husband.
posted by padraigin at 10:19 AM on May 8, 2003


Mother's day is coming up? Shit!

I'm out.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:24 AM on May 8, 2003


So in other words it's yet more Yankee propaganda from the War of Northern Aggression?
posted by nyxxxx at 10:41 AM on May 8, 2003


3 days to Mother's Day. That's the time we have to share the true history of Mother's Day - a story of mothers declaring peace.

At the beginning of the American Civil War, Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic from the inspiring sight of Union troops marching into battle. By the end of the war, she had decided to start a peace movement, in an attempt to end all wars. By 1872, Julia had inaugurated the first Mother's Day for Peace.


Why did/do our Mothers hate America so much? Goddamned traitors....probably all eating French toast this Sunday.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:24 AM on May 8, 2003


The full declaration isn't very long...I find it fairly disingenuous of the Code Pink people to change her words to suit their needs to gather signatures. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth, actually...and taints my entire image of the CodePink people...I thought they were pretty cool until now... by abstracting and cutting words to serve their own purposes, they've lost any goodwill and support they may have had coming from me, as they've proven to be no different than any other agenda driven corporation.

Here is the original declaration, as written...as opposed to how the Pink People wanted it to be written.

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 answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will 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, the 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 voice 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 our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough 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 own 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,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And 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 dejah420 at 12:00 PM on May 8, 2003


dejah420, I'm not sure what you're so upset about. Yeah, they abbreviated it, but we live in the age of the Short Attention Span, and it doesn't seem to me they left out any main themes. Here's their version:

Arise, then... women of this day!  Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears!

We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience...
                 
As men have often forsaken the plough and 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 then solemnly take counsel with each other as to to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace... to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.


OK, they left out the "reeking of carnage" part, but the call for an international congress of women to end war and prevent sons being taken to wage it is preserved, and that's surely the main point. Or am I missing something?
posted by languagehat at 12:49 PM on May 8, 2003


Well, firstly because you don't cut stuff out of a work without noting that it's been abridged...if I want the Reader's Digest version of something, I'll find said Digest.

Imagine someone doing that to a Shakespeare work, or Browning, or Byron or Shelley...just so they could get people to sign some stupid, meaningless petition and sell more buttons and bumper stickers?

I mean, doesn't it drive you nuts when people quote Hamlet and say "Alas poor Yorick, I knew him well", instead of the correct quote? (It makes me cringe.)

Does it make me a language nazi? Sure, probably...but damn it, you don't just modify someone else's art to suit your fancy...not when you're publishing the modification as a representation of the whole, and the entirety of the whole.

It's deceit, it's reprehensible and they should be ashamed.
posted by dejah420 at 7:07 PM on May 8, 2003


Thanks Matt!
I had no idea that Mother's Day had such origins - my mom will like that. Amazing what we forget or lose in all the commercialism.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:34 PM on May 8, 2003


It's deceit, it's reprehensible and they should be ashamed.

Dejah, I'm confused. It says very clearly on the page that:
"The following excerpts from the original Mother's Day Proclamation by Julia Ward Howe in 1870 are a timeless reminder of the profound loss and pain war creates for all mothers... "
The words the following excerpts seem quite clear to me, even if there is a bit of intervening text. Its badly designed, perhaps, I don't think its in any way deceitful.
posted by anastasiav at 10:20 PM on May 8, 2003


Here in the UK we have what people call 'Mothers Day', but it is still celebrated on the day of 'Mothering Sunday'.
posted by muckybob at 12:00 AM on May 9, 2003


More on mothers day origins, US & UK.
posted by biffa at 5:55 AM on May 9, 2003


Ah, you see, but the text has changed since yesterday...probably because of the feedback they got.

Also, their webmaster sent me an email this morning saying that they would change it to include the entire poem, and apologized for having a cut version with no notice...so, I'm not totally out of my mind here. ;)
posted by dejah420 at 6:23 AM on May 9, 2003


Ah, that explains it. Like anastasiav, I was confused by the new wording. So everybody's right! Group hug!
posted by languagehat at 6:56 AM on May 9, 2003


Chocolate chip cookies for everyone! ;)
posted by dejah420 at 10:17 AM on May 9, 2003


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