Sunday, May 13, 2012

Civil War Sunday - The Civil War Roots of Mother's Day

So many things in our life here in the United States can be traced to the Civil War.

This will be a short post, because I am on the road with my spouse today, traveling from New York City to spend some time with my mother in law. We will have dinner with her, hopefully help her learn to use her iPhone, and then return home to upstate New York.

And it is all because of the Civil War.

True, mothers were honored long before the Civil War, in many cultures and in many ways.

In 1870, a feminist by the name of Julia Ward Howe issued this Mother's Day Proclamation. If this name sounds familiar, she is the same person who wrote the words to what we now know as The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

What was behind this proclamation?

Julia Howe was quite aware that all the people who died or were maimed in the Civil War had mothers. These mothers sent their sons (and sometimes, in disguise, daughters) off to war - and sometimes, these sons fought on opposite sides, brother vs. brother

Her thought was to have an international day of honoring peace and motherhood.

Of course, our modern Mothers Day celebrations aren't exactly that. They are more celebrations of greeting card makers, chocolates, florists and other purveyors of goods suitable for giving.  I hope that my mother in law enjoys the basket of plants we are giving her.

As we like to say in our country, it's the thought that counts.  So, happy Mother's Day to my mother in law. 

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