Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sober Thoughts on Mothers Day

"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of 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." ~ Julia Ward Howe

Mothers Day in this country was initially proposed as a day for peace activism. Julia Ward Howe wrote her famous Mothers Day proclamation in 1870, being distraught by the death and carnage of the Civil War. She called on mothers to come together and protest what she saw as the futility of their sons killing the sons of other mothers. She called for an international Mothers Day celebrating peace and motherhood. (source)

I want to relate a short story to you. During my first year of graduate school, I had a position teaching College Algebra in the Mathematics department. My first semester, one of my students was an Iraq War veteran. He had a knee injury necessitating his return to the U.S. for treatment. He was completing his service at the local Air Force base and taking classes as his schedule allowed. This war veteran was a kid. Seriously, I don't know if he was even 20 years old. Still baby faced, with clean cut dark blond/light brown hair and blue eyes. Seven years since I taught that class, this boy/man still haunts my memory.

This kid came back from war alive, a fact I'm sure his mother celebrates every day. I imagine my own dark blond/light brown haired and blue eyed son going off to learn to kill or be killed and my stomach absolutely turns.

It's been about 10 years since this country has been at war. How many mothers do not have reason to celebrate this Mothers Day? How many mothers will be spending the day mourning the loss of their children at the hands of war?

Ten years. Ten years!

My next door neighbor has 4 children, between the ages of 5 and 10. None of them have ever known a world without war. How long, I wonder, will it continue?

This year on Mothers Day, I remember the mothers of sons and daughters that are no longer here to celebrate them. May we all live to see peace in our lifetimes, so that our children and the children of all mothers may live to to celebrate all their days.

1 comment:

  1. Arise, Then, All Women Who Have Hearts!

    And the Righteous Mothers sing,