Perhaps you have heard the story of how Julia Ward Howe wrote the lyrics to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” On November 18, 1861, after reviewing Union troops near Washington, DC, she awoke in the night with the words of the hymn firmly in mind. “So, with a sudden effort,” she explained, “I sprang out of bed, and found in the dimness an old stump of a pen which I remembered to have used the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper.”
Remember the first verse?
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.
Despite the militancy of that hymn, in 1872 Howe organized a Mother’s Day for peace in New York City, which was repeated in Boston for about ten years. She and others across the country wanted to establish a special day each year in which mothers could unite to help prevent future wars. Finally, on May 8, 1914, the US Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. The next day, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother’s Day as a day for Americans to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.
Today as we consider the many wars that rage throughout the world, let us do what we can through prayer and action to bring peace to our world.
(Image courtesy of sebadanon at freeimages.com)