Presently, Mother’s Day is a special day for the mothers as they are poured with love, gifts, brunches, cards, and other few heart-melting appreciations. The national holiday has deeper somber roots attached to it. It was the day women mourned for fallen soldiers and peace at work. The time the day commercialized its leader Anna Jarvis gave in everything for the struggle and rest in peace broken and penniless in a hospital. In West Virginia, Ann Reeves Jarvis, a women’s organizer and Anna’s mother, had started Mother’s Day work clubs for improving the sanitary conditions and reducing the infant mortality due to diseases and milk contamination. The group attended all wounded soldiers of the U.S. Civil War from 1861 to 1865 equally.
During the postwar years, the group held picnics and other events to unite ex-foes. A Composer Julia Ward of The Battle Hymn of the Republic declared a broadly read Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870 so as to encourage women to take an active role in encouraging peace. Ann at that time had started a Mother’s Friendship Day for Union and Confederate loyalists in Grafton. However, her daughter Anna was the one who fought her entire life for the day we call Mother’s Day.
As Anna never had a child of her own she could connect to the bond a child and mother shares and hence determined to honor her mother who passed in 1905 on second Sunday of May 1908 as Mother’s Day in her honor. Currently, the church Jarvis visited is named the International Mother’s Day Shrine and there are other cities that have chosen the church name as well. Former US President Woodrow Wilson then officially declared second Sunday in May in 1914 as a holiday. Though Jarvis wanted it to be an intimate fare of honoring one’s mother, it soon turned into a gold digging celebration wherein flowers, cards, candies, and more gifts were purchased. She tried to put up a fight against the commercial profitability and letting the day be glued to its reverent roots.
She fought confectioners, lawsuits so as to gain control over the day and help charities instead. She attacked in 1923 and 1925 against American War Mothers that used Mother’s Day for fund-raising and sold carnations every year. She fought till 1940 until in 1948 at the age of 84 she died in a hospital penniless and dealing with dementia. She chose to not profit from the day and rather help the weak.