Tag Archives: American Civil War

The origin of Mother’s Day (again)

For those who didn’t catch this last year.

We all know that Mother’s Day is a national holiday to honor and celebrate mothers and motherhood. But do you know how it all got started? Here is some of what I dug up. (Thanks Wikipedia!)

The first attempts to establish a “Mother’s Day” in the U.S. were usually marked by women’s peace groups. A common early activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died on opposite sides of the American Civil War.

In 1868 Ann Jarvis created a committee to establish a “Mother’s Friendship Day” for the purpose of reuniting “families that had been divided during the Civil War.” Her desire was to create an annual memorial for mothers, but she died in 1905 before the celebration became popular.

There were a variety of regional events held in various states in the late 1800’s and Frank E. Hering, President of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, made the first known public plea for “a national day to honor our mothers” in 1904.

In its present form, Mother’s Day was established by Anna Marie Jarvis, following the death of her mother Ann Jarvis, with the help of Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker. A small service was held on May 12, 1907 in the Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia where Anna’s mother had been teaching Sunday school.

But the first “official” service was on May 10, 1908 in the same church, accompanied by a larger ceremony in the Wanamaker Auditorium in the Wanamaker’s store in Philadelphia. She then campaigned to establish Mother’s Day first as a U.S. national holiday and then later as an international holiday.

Mother’s Day was first declared an official holiday by the state of West Virginia in 1910; other states soon followed. On May 8, 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day and requesting 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.

I doubt that many families today celebrate Mother’s Day to reunite sons who fought on separate sides of the American Civil War; but it does tend to be the one day that brings families together – for mom’s sake!

Not everyone had a mother worthy of celebration but if you did and if she is still alive – let her know how much you appreciate her!
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Children, Family, Gratitude, Inspiration, Mother's Day

More than one kind of civil war

This year commemorates the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War. And Memorial Day first began to remember those who fought and died in that same war. Oliver North offers this description.

“Begun as a local observance in the aftermath of the Civil War, the first national commemoration took place May 30, 1868, at the direction of Gen. John A. Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. Though his General Order No. 11 specified “strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion” — meaning only Union soldiers — those who tended the burial sites at Arlington, Va., Gettysburg, Pa., and Vicksburg, Miss., decided on their own to decorate the biers of both Union and Confederate war dead.” ~ Oliver North

The Civil War was unique in that it pitted brother against brother and family against family. More than 600,000 men gave their lives and the outcome was a unified nation. But there’s an even more significant civil war going on today.

The Apostle Paul describes this most basic of civil wars that takes place between our desire to please God and the selfish desires of our flesh. In Romans chapter 7 Paul is frustrated and exasperated because of the ongoing struggle.

The solution? The grace of God available through Christ Jesus. “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” ~Romans 8:1

Don’t miss a single opportunity to thank a veteran for what they did in serving our country and defending our freedom. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

But be sure you make time today to praise God for the gift of grace made available to us through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. He purchased freedom that will carry us on into eternity!

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Filed under Grace, Jesus, Memorial Day