It was 149 years ago, while in the wake of the American Civil War and in opposition to the Franco-Prussian War, that the first Mother’s Day in America came to be. Julia Ward Howe, who had earlier penned the well-known Battle Hymn Of The Republic, was later horrified by the carnage brought about by the Civil War and in a commitment to international peace she authored the Mother’s Day Peace Proclamation in 1870.
Howe’s vow of “I refuse to raise my child to grow up to kill another mother’s child” was at the time shared by mothers from all around to include Anna Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia who had worked to reconcile Americans from both sides of the Civil War.
Reeves Jarvis’ daughter, Anna Jarvis, later made it her life’s work to get Mother’s Day officially recognized in America. However after many years of trying to get Mother’s Day officially recognized as a day calling for peace, Mother’s Day in America eventually gave way to the commercialized celebration that we know it as today with little or no trace of its original intent as finally in 1914, while America was readying itself to enter World War I, the U.S. Congress and President Wilson declared Mother’s Day a day to recognize “women’s role in the family”.
With America in its 18th year of the 9/11 Wars which have already taken the lives of the children of hundreds of thousands of mothers, We Are Change Central Florida is asking people from Central and Northeast Florida to join our group of everyday Americans in reclaiming Mother’s Day as the day that it was originally meant to be.
Mother's Day Proclamation by Julia Ward Howe
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women, who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
"We will not have great questions decided 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 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 out 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 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.
Stonewalk began with the one-ton granite stone memorial which had been placed on the grounds of The Peace Abbey in 1992 where it was unveiled at a ceremony which Muhammed Ali participated in. The stone is a memorial to those people around the world who tragically lost their lives in the course of military conflicts.
For years the Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Massachusetts was its home. Over a period of years, it became clear to its caretakers that the stone must share its mission and meaning with the people of the United States and the world. On it's first pilgrimage, the memorial was taken to Arlington National Cemetery to serve as a reminder of the true cost of war. Arlington is known around the country as the home of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a place where the people go and mourn for those who died in military conflict – American men and women of the four branches of military service. No mention is made of the civilian loss of life which number 9 out of 10 casualties in war. In fact, there is no official place in America where citizens can pause, reflect and mourn for civilian victims of war — men, women and children.
Stonewalk 2004 brought together members of Peaceful Tomorrows from New England, New York, Philadelphia and people along the way who wished to show their support for peace and to remember all those killed in war, including the civilian casualties too often dismissed as “collateral damage.” From July 26 through September 2, 2004 they walked from Boston to New York, pulling the 1400-pound granite memorial honoring the "Unknown Civilians Killed in War."
Family members of 9/11 victims made a dramatic statement of solidarity with victims of terrorism, violence and war from around the world.
Editor's Note: We Are Change Central Florida is a non-partisan, all-inclusive group of individuals from as far south as Melbourne and north to Jacksonville who are committed to working for Peace, Truth and Justice. For more information, call We Are Change Central Florida at (386) 235-3268 or email us at wearechangecfl [AT] gmail [DOT] com.