And the host appealed to the listening audience across the radio airwaves. She reminded us that though it was President Wilson who pronounced Mother's Day to be a national holiday, he was not the genesis of this day to honor our mothers. In fact, inklings of the first the holiday began long before President Wilson. It happened in 1870 just after the Civil War. It began with the words of feminist, reformer, and writer Julia Ward Howe. She proclaimed the first Mother's Day with these words:
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!"
On the local NPR affiliate, the host asked these theatre goers to disarm. She echoed the words of Julia Ward Howe. These words startled me. Not only because I had never heard the story before, but perhaps because it seems so odd that this holiday was proclaimed as a demand for disarmament and peace. And yet, no one seems to be listening to Mom.