In 1905, the year that Ann Reeves Jarvis died her daughter Anna Jarvis began the process to make Mother's Day an official holiday. Her intention to honor her mother, a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the U.S. Civil War, took an unexpected turn after Mother's Day became an official holiday in 1911.
Commercialization of the holiday, beginning with Hallmark, led her to boycott Mother's Day, threaten lawsuits, and stage protests at a candy convention that was exploiting the day for profiteering. Finally in 1925 she was so angered by the selling of carnations by American War Mothers to raise money that she got herself arrested for disturbing the peace.
Reflecting upon this history and that Mother's Day originally was to celebrate life and state that mothers did not want their children killed by war, I believe the added history is significant in our time. As we face the emergency of climate change, we can celebrate the true spirit of Mother's Day, which is to honor and affirm strong women standing up for life. We may need to move out of our comfort zones to live out the principal meaning of Mother's Day, just as Anna Jarvis did.
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