Monday, May 14, 2007

Mothers' Day of Peace

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. It’s often poignant for me. First, because I am a mother but not a parent; my son died the day he was born. Second, because my own mother is dead. Every Mother’s Day, however, I am heartened by remembering what caused the very first Mother’s Day. Do you know?

Mother's Day began with a woman named Julia Ward Howe, the woman who wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic, and who nursed the wounded during the American Civil War. In 1870 she started a crusade to institute a Mother's Day as a Day for Peace. Here is her Mother's Day proclamation.

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 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 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 of justice."

Blood does 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 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 peace."

The same day I was reminded of the proclamation, I received a notice about a website that made me cry. It’s called Mothers’ Day for Peace. I won’t say more except click here, watch the video, and let your heart break open.

I am a very interested observer of the Campaign to Establish a U.S. Department of Peace. On the Friday before Mother’s Day, they had a special campaign directed at our national and local legislators called . . .

Peace Wants A Piece of the Pie!

We were enjoined to visit our legislators and deliver each a pie; you know, blueberry, apple, coconut cream. It was quaint, okay . . . hokey even, and I loved it. The pie in question here is really a pie chart, that of the federal budget. It would cost a nearly imperceptible fraction of the defense piece of that pie to establish a cabinet position for a Department of Peace. Slowly, our legislators are climbing on board.

The thing about all this mothering business is that it is a reminder of our similarity. All living things have mothers. All. Even an oak tree has a “mama” acorn. Granted, we all have different mothers, but that’s what makes us so fascinating.

The next time you’re angry or disappointed in a human being other than yourself, stop a moment and give thanks for that one’s mother. See if it doesn’t take you closer to your own Department of [Inner] Peace.

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