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Video Highlights Original Message of Mother’s Day: Peace

Mother’s Day, which has evolved over the past 137 years to become celebrated with breakfasts-in-bed, flowers, and cards to express love for mothers, originated with a very different message. In 1870, Julia Ward Howe, the author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, wrote the original Mother’s Day Proclamation, calling upon women to unite for peace. Following the carnage of the American Civil War and the beginnings of the Franco-Prussian War, Ward Howe wrote — during a time in which women had no political power — “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.”

To recapture the true meaning of Mother’s Day, celebrities and mothers Vanessa Williams, Felicity Huffman, Christine Lahti, Alfre Woodward, Fatma Saleh, Ashraf Salimian, and Gloria Steinem joined together to share their thoughts on mothers and peace and to offer a video reading of Ward Howe’s proclamation. Said Jim Miller, the executive director of the Brave New Foundation, which produced the short film, “Although this proclamation was written 137 years ago, the emotions and concerns of mothers today have not changed. Mothers past and present do not want to see their children lost to war.”

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