Generations have come to know the second Sunday in May as a breakfast-in-bed/gift-giving event. Yet the "Mothers' Day for Peace," as it was called by Julia Ward Howe's original proclamation, was a call to replace violence and war with peace.
"From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own, 'Disarm, disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.' Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession," Ward Howe wrote in 1870 about the Civil War.
The tradition changed in 1913 when Congress formalized the May date as "Mother's Day" and the flower industry jumped on the opportunity to make a buck. As usual, commercialism won out.
All these years later, in 2007, women, friends, families and strangers will stand in silence all over the world in an attempt to follow in Ward Howe's footsteps. Formal gatherings in Cincinnati (www.standingwomen.org) will be held Sunday in Washington Park, Hyde Park Square, Hoffner Park, Rapid Run Park and Eden Park and informal clusters all over the city to observe five minutes of silence. Afterwards, all are encouraged to discuss practical steps each person can take to make peace the priority.
To learn more, call513-561-9701 or visit:
Standing Women Blog: standingwomen.blogspot.com
Women's Intercultural Network: www.win-cawa.org
Gather the Women: www.gatherthewomen.org
Peace X Peace: www.peacexpeace.org
U.S. Women Connect: www.uswc.org
The Campaign to Make Poverty History: www.ONE.org