Happy Mother’s Day
Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 11, 2014
One hundred years ago, the United States Congress designated the second Sunday of each May to be known as Mother’s Day. The official designation came four years after West Virginia declared it a holiday, and states followed quickly.
President Woodrow Wilson on May 9, 1914, issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother’s Day as a day for Americans to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.
It was war that inspired the creation of Mother’s Day, although an official observance was years away. Julia Ward Howe, who penned the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” conceptualized Mother’s Day in an 1870 song. Legend is that Howe had become so distraught with the death and carnage of the Civil War, she called on mothers to come together in peace — and protest.
Howe tried unsuccessfully to have a Mother’s Day celebrated on July 4, but settled on June 2. In 1873, women’s groups in 18 American cities celebrated a day of peace. Howe funded many of the events, but most of them fell by the wayside after she stopped paying.
West Virginian Anna M. Jarvis, whose mother, Anna Reeves Jarvis, also tried to get a national Mother’s Day in the late 1800s, revived the occasion. Jarvis’ first Mother’s Day celebration happened on May 10, 1908, a year before Congress declared the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
In the years following the creation of the national holiday, Jarvis became disenfranchised because she thought commercialization was ruining the spirit of the holiday.
Ask most mothers, and they likely will tell you they want the coffee made for them, breakfast in bed, perhaps, and a sincere “I love you.” Mothers do a thankless job — happily. Many times their sacrifices for their children go unnoticed and certainly underappreciated.
Today we notice and appreciate. We join in wishing a happy Mother’s Day to each and every mother out there. Enjoy the day. It’s yours.