I once told my son that I would lie down in front of the family car to keep him from going off to fight in a war.
Kind of a drastic statement, perhaps.
But I meant it.
I was reminded of my declaration this morning as I read a friend's blog. Judi England, a registered nurse and massage therapist, teaches yoga and writes a wonderful blog about holistic health for the Albany Times Union. Her Mother's Day post http://blog.timesunion.com/holistichealth/was a fabulous invitation to all of us to revisit the original Mother's Day proclamation that prompted our modern flowers and cards holiday. The 1870 proclamation was the work of pacifist and feminist Julia Ward Howe, who was reacting to the carnage of the Civil War as she challenged women to stand up and plead for peace.
Not surprising, the origins of the day have been lost through the years.
But with war raging abroad, and young men still being sacrificed in droves, it seems appropriate that we need to revisit Howe's words.
I would still lie down in front of the family car to keep a loved one from going to war. But now that it's clear my son isn't about to go, maybe instead I should stand up and speak out for peace. What follows is the original Mother's Day Proclamation:
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
Thank you Julia.
Thank you Judi!
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