Being the optimist that I am, I’m looking forward to a sunny and mild Mother’s Day on this Sunday, May the 12th. Mother’s are so important in our personal lives and in the life of our communities. They give an unconditional love that ideally provides their children with a solid foundation of confidence and self-esteem from which they can launch into their own lives and grow up into solid citizens. Without a doubt, our mothers are unsung heroes.
My own mother passed away when I was only 17 years old. Yet, in my short time with her, she influenced me in many positive ways; and I am so thankful to her. I was blessed then to have been brought up by three women in my life; my Mother, my Grandmother and my Aunt. I owe so much to these great women. I will never be able to repay them other than to practice those life skills that they imparted to me.
In my work here at Wayne Township I am always impressed by the fact that no matter how difficult the life situation is for many of our clients, the mothers, young and old, that come through our office always seem to have the welfare of their children as their top priority. Of course, I see that with fathers as well, but more on that next month!
So I think that it is fitting that we have a holiday celebrating all of the mothers and mother figures in our lives. I’ve done a little research and learned that the woman who was the most influential in establishing Mother’s Day was Anna Jarvis. She was the daughter of Ann Jarvis, who in 1868 worked to establish Mother’s Friendship Day to reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War. Ann Jarvis, originally from Grafton, West Virginia, had wanted to expand Mother’s Friendship Day into an annual memorial for mothers, but she died in 1905 before the celebration became popular.
Anna Jarvis, who had moved to Philadelphia, took over her Mother’s cause. A small service was conducted on May 12, 1907, in her Mother’s church, Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal in Grafton, and the first official service was in the same church the next year on May 10. Mother’s Day was declared as a holiday by West Virginia in 1910 and other states quickly followed.
In May of 1914, the U.S. Congress designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day; and on May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson issued a Proclamation declaring the first national Mother’s Day. The Grafton Church, where the first celebration was conducted, no longer operates as a church and now has become the International Mother’s Day Shrine and a National Historic Landmark.
Later in her life, Anna Jarvis became disillusioned with how commercial Mother’s Day had become. In her opinion, what had started as a religious service to honor mothers had devolved into a commercial holiday.
Today we celebrate Mother’s Day with cards, gifts and sometimes by taking our Mothers out to lunch or dinner. I know those of you whose mothers are still living will remember on Mother’s Day to thank them for their guidance and help. And, if your mother has passed on like mine, I know you will remember her in your thoughts and prayers.
I want to take this opportunity to wish all mothers and mother figures a very happy Mother’s Day. And, I want to thank all the unsung heroes for the contributions they make everyday to better our lives and our community.
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