Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother's Day

On May 9, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson issued a Presidential Proclamation that officially established the first national Mother's Day holiday to celebrate America's mothers.

Two women have been largely credited with the creation of Mother's Day,  Ann Jarvis in 1868 and Julia Ward Howe in 1872.

In New York City, Julia Ward Howe led a "Mother's Day anti-war observance" on June 1, 1872 which was accompanied by a Mother's Day Proclamation.  The observance continued in Boston for 10 years under Ms. Howe's personal sponsorship, then faded out.

In 1868 Ann Jarvis created a committee to establish a "Mother's Friendship Day" whose purpose was "to reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War," and she wanted to expand it into an annual memorial for mothers, but she died in 1905 before the celebration became popular.  Her daughter, Anna Jarvis, continued the campaign to make her mother's dream a reality.

Anna Jarvis continued her push to make Mother's Day a U.S. national holiday.  In 1910 the State of West Virginia declared the second Sunday of May to be the official day to celebrate mothers.  On May 8, 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as "Mother's Day" and requested a proclamation.  On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother's Day as "a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war."  Over time this holiday evolved into the celebration of all mothers.

In 2002, President George W. Bush echoed Wilson's sentiments by acknowledging mothers in his official statement on Mother's Day.  He commended foster mothers as well as his own "fabulous mother" for their "love and sacrifice."  He also mentioned past presidents' expressions of appreciation for their mothers.  He quoted John Quincy Adams as having said,  "All that I am my mother made me", and Abraham Lincoln's expression of love to his mother saying, "All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother's prayers that have clung to me all my life."

We at National Write Your Congressman wish all mothers a very blessed Mother's Day!

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