Mothers’ Day was held in Boston in 1872 at the suggestion of Julia Ward Howe, writer of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
But it was Anna Jarvis, daughter of a Methodist minister in Grafton, West Virginia, who made it a national event. During the Civil War, Anna Jarvis’ mother organized Mothers’ Day Work Clubs to care for wounded soldiers, both Union and Confederate. She raised money for medicine, inspected bottled milk, improved sanitation and hired women to care for families where mothers suffered from tuberculosis.
In her mother’s honor, Anna Jarvis persuaded her church to set aside the second Sunday in May, the anniversary of her mother’s death, as a day to appreciate all mothers. Encouraged by the reception, Anna Jarvis organized it in Philadelphia, then began a letter-writing campaign to ministers, businessmen and politicians to establish a national Mothers’ Day.
In response, on May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first National Mothers’ Day as a “public expression of … love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”
President Reagan said in his Mother’s Day Proclamation, 1986: “A Jewish saying sums it up: ‘God could not be everywhere – so He created mothers.'”
Mothers have the role of imparting values into children, as American poet William Ross Wallace wrote: “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”
Dr. James Dobson addressed the National Religious Broadcasters, Feb. 16, 2002: “If they can get control of children … they can change the whole culture in one generation.”
This importance of this was echoed by historians Will and Ariel Durant in “The Lessons of History,” 1968: “Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the transmission should be interrupted … civilization would die, and we should be savages again.”
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5): “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”
On Feb. 3, 1983, at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, President Ronald Reagan stated: “I have a very special old Bible. And alongside a verse in the Second Book of Chronicles there are some words, handwritten, very faded by now. And believe me, the person who wrote these words was an authority. Her name was Nelle Wilson Reagan. She was my mother.”
Reagan stated: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
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