Stepping Back in Time
Four Generations of Neas Women (2005)
Not sure why, but this Mother's Day I feel particularly melancholy. Looking at the pictures of my girls over the years, I find myself all teary eyed. Part of it is the realization that they are now young women with families of their own. Where did the time go? The other part of it, I think, comes from concern over where we, as human beings, are heading.
My concern is not unique. Women, since the beginning of time, have worried about the safety their children. Our concerns have not changed over time; they are simply different. Back in the 1800's when Ann Marie Reeves and Julia Ward Howe began working on an official recognition of mothers, women worried.
In 1870, Julia Ward Howe gave this rousing speech proclaiming the first Mother's Day:
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!
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 taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another 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 not wipe out 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 & 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 Caesars 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 peace.
In 1912, through the tenacious efforts of Ann Marie Jarvis' daughter, Anna, the Mother's Day of Peace finally was signed into being by President Wilson.
We celebrate Mother's Day today with little to know recognition of its true purpose. Therefore, I call upon all women around the world to remember the work of our sisters of the past, remember the struggles of those who went before us. Once again, remember that purpose of this observance, this "Mother's Day." Call with all your being for peace on Earth, good will to all.
Peace, Pace, Frieden, Shalom, Salaam, He Peng, Mir, Paix, Pax, Shanti, Achukma, Heiwa, Amani, Ashtee, Barish, Béke, Síocháin, Shîte, Pokój, Nanna Ayya, Peace!