Editor’s note: This article was originally posted in 2007.

In 1870, Julia Ward Howe responded to the horrors of the Civil War by issuing her “Mother’s Day Proclamation” (see below), calling on women around the world to rise up and oppose war in all its forms.

It would be decades before Americans officially began celebrating Mother’s Day, and much of the original spirit of the proclamation has since been lost.

The Brave New Foundation, Code Pink and No More Victims are leading a movement to restore that spirit to the day, and for that we applaud them.

Watch Mother’s Day for Peace:

Listen to the Truthdig interview with NoMoreVictims.Org’s Cole Miller.

Mother’s Day Proclamation (1870) by Julia Ward Howe

Arise then … women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts! Whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, For caresses and applause. 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.”

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe our dishonor, Nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil At the summons of war, Let women now leave all that may be left of home For a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means Whereby the great human family can live in peace … Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God — In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask That a general congress of women without limit of nationality, May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient And the earliest period consistent with its objects, To promote the alliance of the different nationalities, The amicable settlement of international questions, The great and general interests of peace.

— PZS

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