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The modern concept of Mother’s Day was introduced by a woman named Anna Marie Jarvis, the daughter of a passionate Civil War nurse and community activist who had prayed once for a holiday honoring mothers. After her mom died in May of 1905, Anna began holding annual church commemorations on the anniversary, handing out white carnations (her mom’s favorite flower).
Later, she and Philadelphia philanthropist John Wannamaker started a Mother’s Day Committee that petitioned leaders across America to enact an official Mother’s Day. West Virginia was the first state to adopt the holiday in 1910, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill that designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Wilson stated in his proclamation that the holiday allowed citizens to publicly express their gratitude to the women who had a hand in their upbringing. He is not the only leader to pay a nod to his mother, as presidents from John Quincy Adams to Abraham Lincoln to George W. Bush have openly credited their success to their own moms. Oddly, by the time of her death in 1948, Jarvis was protesting Mother’s Day, outraged at its reliance on commercialism and profit. Indeed, Mother’s Day now serves as one of the busiest days of the year for telephone companies, greeting card publishers, and florists. However, it’s also marked by millions of people who just want to say, “Thanks, Mom.”
How do you celebrate the mom, grandma, or other mother figure in your life? Do you think Anna Jarvis had a right to be angry?