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Gifts are not needed to show Mom some appreciation

May 10, 2009
Morning Journal News

The celebration of Mother's Day began on May 10, 1908 when a West Virginia woman organized a church service to honor her late mother.

But, if its founder, Anna M. Jarvis could see the way Mother's Day is celebrated today, exactly 101 years later, she'd probably roll over in her grave.

Miss Jarvis is credited with originating the holiday in the United States. She never married and was very attached to her mother, Anna Reese Jarvis.

Two years after her mother's death, Miss Jarvis began a letter-writing campaign to gain the support of influential ministers, businessmen and congressmen in declaring Mother's Day a holiday.

Residents of our neighboring state, West Virginia, played a big role in creating the holiday. The first Mother's Day observance was a church service held in Grafton, W.Va. to honor the late Mrs. Jarvis. The first Mother's Day proclamation was issued by the governor of West Virginia in 1910.

What she viewed as the commercialization of Mother's Day soon turned Miss Jarvis bitter, however. She even filed a lawsuit to stop a 1923 Mother's Day festival and was arrested for disturbing the peace at a war mothers' convention where women sold white carnations - Miss Jarvis' symbol for mothers - to raise money. "This is not what I intended," Miss Jarvis said, "I wanted it to be a day of sentiment, not profit." She told a reporter shortly before her death in 1948 that she was sorry she had ever started Mother's Day. In fact, she spent her fortune trying to stop the commercialization of the day.

Today, millions of dollars are spent on gifts for our moms on Mother's Day. Everything from flowers, jewelry, clothing, fancy restaurant dinners and even cellphones are touted as gifts any mother would appreciate.

But despite this, we believe the holiday has retained its sentiment.

Whether you buy Mom an expensive gift, take her to dinner or simply send her a card or give her a call, take the time to let her know how much you appreciate her. After all, you only get one mom in this life and look what she's done for you.

Happy Mother's Day!



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