history lessons through letters to the editor

The other day, I had a letter in the Globe and Mail about Mother's Day, itself in reply to another letter. Today, there's a reply to my letter, and it's excellent.
Laura Kaminker states that "Mother's Day is a feel-good celebration of motherhood" (Not A Motherhood Issue - letters, March 12) and contrasts it with International Women's Day, which is "about all women - whether or not they are mothers - changing the world."

The origin of Mother's Day in North America came from an anti-war Mother's Day Proclamation written in 1870 by U.S. feminist, suffragette and peace activist Julia Ward Howe. She began a one-woman peace crusade with her proclamation, which called on the women of the world to rise up against war.

An excerpt from her proclamation shows her original words are as relevant today as in 1870: "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."

She sought to change the world; it is to our shame that we have allowed the historical origin of this special day to be co-opted by sentimental, commercial interests.

Patricia Hartnagel

I am a big fan of Julia Ward Howe, and I'm very happy to learn this bit of American and women's history. If you happen to know Patricia Hartnagel, thank her for me.

No comments: