The origins of Mother’s Day began with a woman named Ann Jarvis, who organized groups of women to tend to the wounded of the Civil War, both Union and Confederacy. Her efforts continued afterward by involving the mothers of those soldiers in peace efforts.
Anna Jarvis, Ann’s daughter, arranged a large service to be held in her mother’s honor when she passed away in 1905. Anna passed out five hundred white carnations that day–a flower given to every mother in attendance.
With the help of Anna, in 1914 Mother’s Day was established as a national holiday by President Woodrow Wilson to commemorate mothers who had lost their sons in war. Soon the holiday became commercialized, and Anna began to protest. She disliked the impersonal printed cards people would send to their mothers and fought the growing popularization to the point of arrest and emptying her inheritance.
Despite the commercialization, the origin of the celebration was kept alive by the soldiers of the time. Even the year after Anna’s death, soldiers participated in parades around the world to honor their mothers. The following images capture the men of the 386th Bomb Group marching through St. Trond, Belgium.
Search for more photos of the holidays in the WWII U.S. Air Force Photos.