On this Mother’s Day, we remember the efforts of women like Anna Jarvis, a West Virginia native who played a significant role in establishing Mother’s Day as an official holiday. She drew inspiration from her own mother, who organized “Mother’s Day Working Clubs” to address community issues such as unsanitary conditions and later nursed wounded soldiers during the Civil War.
We also remember the more than 1,500 African American Gold Star Mothers and widows of Black soldiers who sacrificed their lives during World War I. Others, like Julia Ward Howe, also advocated for recognizing the holiday. Their efforts culminated in President Wilson lobbying Congress and issuing a proclamation in 1914 to officially set Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of every May.
Ever since, we’ve been taking this time to reflect on our mothers and their tireless efforts and commitments, the people who served as loving figures and provided us with the care we needed to thrive; and to remember those mothers who we did not know or who had passed too soon.
Hearing the stories of the women who made this day possible makes me think of my mother, Guadalupe Rios, an immigrant who courageously raised me and my eight brothers and sisters as a single parent. Like so many other mothers, she achieved the impossible time and time again, providing for us, putting us all through school, and instilling a strong work ethic that guides me as a mother.
As chair of the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, I am committed to uplifting the stories of mothers that have persevered throughout history and today, stories like my mother, who represent some of America’s best. Individuals like these contribute every day at home, in their communities, in the workplace, and to the future of our country. Let’s celebrate them today and all year long. Happy Mother’s Day!