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London chapter at Mother’s Day anti-war gathering

Photo by Kevin Jones.

The Council of Canadians London chapter took part in a Mother’s Day anti-war gathering yesterday afternoon.

The “Reclaiming Mother’s Day – An Anti War Community Gathering Event” took place at noon-hour at the northwest corner of Victoria Park.

In 1868, Anna Reeves Jarvis created a committee to establish a ‘Mother’s Friendship Day’ which sought to to reunite families that had been divided during the United States Civil War (1861-1865). Jarvis had previously organized ‘Mother’s Day Work Clubs’ to improve access to drinking water and sanitation at both Union and Confederate encampments during the war. Jarvis’ daughter later championed the establishment of Mother’s Day as a recognized holiday in the United States.

In 1872, Julia Ward Howe led a ‘Mother’s Day for Peace’ anti-war observance which led to the Mother’s Day Proclamation. That proclamation states, “Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country, to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day on May 9, 1914 to honour of those mothers whose sons had died in war.

Three years later, in April 1917, President Wilson took the United States into World War I. That war began on July 28, 1914 and ended on November 11, 1918. The numbers are staggering but alone cannot tell the full story – 9.9 million soldiers were killed and 21.2 million were wounded. In total, there were 38 million military and civilian casualties.

Then, between 1939 and 1945, World War II claimed the lives of 50-55 million civilians and 21-25 million soldiers.

Since then there have been numerous other wars including the Sino-Japanese war (that claimed up to 25 million lives), the Vietnam war (that claimed up to 3.8 million lives), the War in Afghanistan (that has claimed up to 2 million lives), and the Iraq War (in which as many as 500,000 people may have been killed).

The Council of Canadians calls for an end to war.