Note: American author Julia Ward Howe, who wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic, also penned The "Mother's Day Proclamation" in 1870, one of the early calls to celebrate Mother's Day in the United States. It wasn't until 1914, however, that President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation, declaring the first national Mother's Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war. The following tribute to mothers appeared as an editorial in the Tamaqua Courier exactly 100 years ago today.
Thousands and thousands of good men and women in this land of ours will burn incense before the shrine of a mother's love tomorrow.
On this day, if on no other in the year, the thoughts of a great multitude will go back through the vista of the years to the dearest spot in all the world – the home where they were born and where a loving mother taught them the greatest lessons of life. It may be that this mother is still of this world.
If she is, go to her and tell her of the great love you have for her. Don't wait until those loving eyes that watched over you in childhood; those eyes that always shone forth love and sympathy, are closed forever. And if it so happens that your mother has passed to that other and better world, light the lights in the great cathedral of your heart and pay a tribute of love of the best and truest love – the love that never dies, the love that stretches into the valley of the shadows and bridges that span between this world and eternity – to her.
The sweetest, the tenderest and the most loving mother is or was your own. Deep down in your heart you know that. You know that all you are and all you hope to be you owe to her. A great writer once said that we can never cancel the debt we owe to our mother. Friend, 'tis not a debt for it was all given to us freely and gladly with no thought of reward.
A mother's love and devotion, a mother's toil and sacrifice for her children, ask no compensation. They are given forth from her bounteous heart and she glories in the giving.
The richest treasures are laid at her children's feet. Their happiness and their welfare are all to her. She lives for them. If all be well with them, she turns life's last page with a smile of contentment and says: "I am ready, Master, take me home. I have lived and I have loved and the fruit of my life blossoms forth abundantly in the happiness of my children. I am content. Truly, my cup runneth over."