In the following excerpt from the Marianne Williamson Lecture "Life Is a Choice,", Williamson reads the stirring proclamation written after the Civil War, beseeching women to come together to declare that there shall be no more war, only peace.
Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday. Do you want me to talk to you about Mother’s day now or do you want me to talk to you about Mother’s Day at the end of my talk? Alright, how many of you know the origins of Mother’s Day? OK. During the Civil War 1861-1865, at the end of the Civil War, there were mothers from the north who got together with mothers from the south and they decided that war should never happen again, that no mother should ever again lose their sons in war. Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the lyrics to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, wrote the official proclamation and she worked with a woman named Anna Jarvis. They were feminists and Suffragettes, and Julia Ward Howe wrote the official proclamation for Mother’s Day. You can see this all over the internet now. I remember when I used to talk about this; it was like nobody had heard of it, and now I see more and more with every Mother’s Day. The word is sort of out there.
I hope that you will be sharing it with people that you know this week if this touches you. I bet that it will, because this was the official Mother’s Day proclamation, written by Julia Ward Howe in Boston in 1870: “Arise then, women of this day. Arise all women who have hearts. Whether our baptism be that of water or of fears, say firmly. We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall 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 ever been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We, 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 bosom of the 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 plow 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 council. Let them meet first as women to be wail, and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take council with each other. As to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time, the sacred impress not of Caesar but of God. In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities the amicable sediment of international questions the great and general interests of peace.”