From the Tennessean
As we celebrate Mother's Day to honor the most important person in our lives, let us not forget the history behind its origin in our country. In the years after the Civil War, a young Appalachian mother named Anna Jarvis worked to heal both the physical and emotional wounds of families on both sides, calling for a Mother's Work Day to improve living conditions for all and build reconciliation between neighbors.
Inspired by the work of Anna Jarvis, Julia Ward Howe, author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, took up the cause. When the Franco-American War began in 1870, Howe used her fame to send a call to women of all nations to recognize their common humanity, seek peaceful resolutions to conflicts and take a firm stance against any and all wars.
She issued a proclamation calling for a Congress of Women, stating, "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."
Across the years, Julia Ward Howe's words speak as true today as they did then. The conflict in the Middle East affects Tennesseans deeply, with tragic loss of precious Tennessee soldiers and the terrible reality of the wounded in body and soul who come home to the lack of proper medical and psychological care.
Five years ago, a group of Tennessee women, led by founders of PeaceRoots Alliance and More Than Warmth, came together with Middle Tennessee women to honor Julia Ward Howe, and remember that Mother's Day began as a call for our children's future and a call for peace.
Today, Mothers Acting Up (MAU) will bring mothers and their children together in Nashville with church and civic groups and a growing number of families to oppose the war and work for peace.
"My hope is to fully embody the inclusive message of peace for all," says organizer Paige La Grone Babcock, national outreach coordinator for MAU. "The action will be aimed at appealing to the Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi to be an advocate for the mother of all agendas: dealing with poverty, global warming and striving for peace."
Honoring our mothers is a good thing. Honoring the strength and fortitude of mothers who demand peace and stand for the protection of all children and families is the true meaning of Mother's Day.