‘THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE’ RULES THE WORLD’
Bill Federer recounts history of Mother’s Day
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.
American poet William Ross Wallace wrote: “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”
More thoughts from Bill Federer
In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers. via Wikipedia
Proclamation 5801 — Mother’s Day, 1988
April 26, 1988
By the President of the United States of America
Maternal love is the first tangible bond any human being knows. It is a tie at once physical, emotional, psychological, and mystical. With all of the words that have been written about motherhood, all of the poems of tribute and gratitude that have been penned through the ages, all of the portraits of a mother and child that have been painted down the centuries, none has come close to expressing in full the thankfulness and joy owing to mothers.
The mark of motherhood, as the story of Solomon and the disputed infant in the first Book of Kings shows, is a devotion to the well-being of the child so total that it overlooks itself and its own preferences and needs. It is a love that risks all, bears all, braves all. As it heals and strengthens and inspires in its objects an understanding of self-sacrifice and devotion, it is the parent of many another love as well.
The arms of a mother are the newborn’s first cradle and the injured child’s first refuge. The hands of a mother are the hands of care for the child who is near and of prayer for the one who is far away. The eyes of a mother are the eyes of fond surprise at baby’s first step, the eyes of unspoken worry at the young adult’s first voyage from home, the eyes of gladness at every call or visit that says she is honored and remembered. The heart of a mother is a heart that is always full.
Generation after generation has measured love by the work and wonder of motherhood. For these gifts, ever ancient and ever new, we cannot pause too often to give thanks to mothers. As inadequate as our homage may be and as short as a single day is to express it — “What possible comparison was there,” a great saint wrote of his mother, “between the honor I showed her and the service she had rendered me?” — Mother’s Day affords us an opportunity to meet one of life’s happiest duties.
In recognition of the contributions of mothers to their families and to our Nation, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 8, 1914 (38 Stat. 770), has designated the second Sunday in May each year as Mother’s Day and requested the President to call for its appropriate observance.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby request that Sunday, May 8, 1988, be observed as Mother’s Day. I urge all Americans to express their love and respect for their mothers and to reflect on the importance of motherhood to the well-being of our country. I direct government officials to display the flag of the United States on all Federal government buildings, and I urge all citizens to display the flag at their homes and other suitable places on that day.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twelfth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 2:34 p.m., April 27, 1988]