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Remembering the Origins of Mother's Day

In the aftermath of the US civil war, Julia Ward Howe published the powerful proclamation below as a call to end violence and war. Sadly, it could have been just as powerfully written by an Argentinian grandmother in the 1990s, a Liberian mother twenty years ago, a mother from Salone in 2010, or any number of places in the world today. Ms. Ward Howe is just one mother, in a long line from all corners of the globe, who have called on leaders to end violence and war using the sympathetic and universal power of a mother's love.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers everywhere from Strong Girls United Women.

Mother’s Day Proclamation, 1870

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!

Say firmly: “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.

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