Anna Jarvis and Her Legacy of Mothers Day

By: Leo Walters

Seldom thought of on Mother's Day, is , the West Virginia native who was responsible for creating the special holiday which finally recieved Federal Government recognition in 1914.

Legend holds that Anna vowed to work for such a holiday at her mother's graveside service, first organizing a Mother's Day Memorial Committee in 1906 and with the help of a Mr. Norman Kendall, first passing a local resolution in support of Mother's Day at Andrews Church in Grafton, West Virginia.

Following an intense letter writing campaign to lobby support for a broader based holiday, she finally gained the support of John Wanamaker, the philanthropist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On May 10, 1908, Anna Spoke for over an hour to an over-capacity crowd of 15,000 at a special Mother's Day Service held at the Wanamaker Store Auditorium in Philadelphia.

The idea for a national holiday proved extremely popular, and through the work of Anna and her Committee, over 40 states had began to observe the day with special services and the wearing of red and white carnations by as early as 1909.

Ultimately, by 1914, a resolution was introduced before Congress by Representative Heflin of Alabama and Senator Sheppard of Texas naming the second Sunday of each May as "Mother's Day". The resolution passed easily and was signed by President Woodrow Wilson.

Anna spent her later years crusading against the commercialization of Mother's Day. She passed away in 1948 at the age of 84.

If was for the deep affection and love she had for her mother that Anna started such a special day which is now celebrated all over the world. This next Mother's Day, don't forget the holiday's humble beginnings and the hard work of Anna Jarvis to make it possible. And, don't spare the gifts, but remember to tell your mom how much you love her, because that's why it all started to begin with.

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