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HONORABLE SOL BLOOM
CONGRESSMAN FROM NEW YORK
NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMPANY
BROADCAST FROM THE BETSY Ross HOUSE, PHILA-
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From a photograph of the Houdon Bust at Mount Vernon made in 1785 from life. Approved by the portrait committee as the official portrait of the United States George
Washington Bicentennial Commission
DEPOSITED BY ilin UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
ADDRESS BY HON. SOL BLOOM, OF NEW YORK,
To-day, throughout our country, we are celebrating Mothers' Day.
Upon this beautiful and solemn anniversary our hearts respond to a common impulse of devotion. From many homes, from many varied occupations, from many conditions of life that occupy our daily thoughts, we experience to-day upon this sacred occasion the exaltation of the finest of human sentiments.
While we think of motherhood as universal, yet in each one of us there is treasured a shrine of love for that one being to whom we owe our individual homage-our mother.
The heroism of a mother's love-her distinct and individual influence—differs from anything else God ever thought of, for it fixes in permanent outline the future hope of us all.
The honoring of mothers is as old as the human race. We sometimes think of Mothers' Day in our country as being something new, yet festivals and ceremonies of similar kind were common in the dawning period of our civilization. Long before the Christian era something closely corresponding to Mothers' Day was introduced through Greece into Rome, where it was known as the Festival of Hilaria, and appropriately enough was a spring festival. At any rate, we can not claim monopoly of this fine and noble filial sentiment.
This afternoon there will be a ceremonial in beautiful Arlington Cemetery to honor motherhood, but more particularly to honor the motherhood which has laid its choicest sacrifices upon the altar of our country. The American War Mothers, under the leadership of the national president, Mrs. Virgil McClure, will assemble to commemorate those sacrifices and to rededicate our hearts to that transcendent patriotism which has found most appropriate expression in that organization.
As I contemplate the sacrifices and the sufferings of these and all other war mothers I can not refrain from dwelling upon that first American War Mother, who gave her noble son to the service of his country.
Upon a beautiful monument in the city of Fredericksburg, Va., are carved these simple words, “ Mary, the Mother of Washington.” Beneath that monument lie the remains of that remarkable woman who gave to us the rich heritage of our greatest American. It is to the mother of George Washington that this Nation owes its existence to-day as a land of liberty and of opportunity.
Not only did Mary, the Mother of Washington, bring into the world a son of rare heredity and character, but we know from research that from his infancy this boy was trained and taught in those high principles of truth, courage, and honor which equipped him perfectly for the great task to which he was to come.
Perhaps, had there been no George Washington, some other man would have arisen who could have carried forward the gigantic task of liberating our country and establishing our form of government. But the one thing we know is that George Washington did fulfill this destiny and that he could not have done so had it not been for the training given him by his mother.
I speak of Mary Ball Washington, the mother of George Washington, as the first American War Mother. My authority for this is the fact that, while there were colonial troops in the field before Washington was appointed Commander in Chief, the point is that there was no American Army until George Washington was appointed by Congress to organize it.
Mary Washington lived through those eight years of Revolutionary struggle to witness the final triumph of her son at Yorktown and to meet him again at Fredericksburg on his way
from that victorious campaign. How beautiful and how characteristic was that meeting. George Washington the hero, the conqueror, the liberator, with his staff of officers stopped at Fredericksburg on their way north from Yorktown especially for the purpose of seeing George Washington's mother. Upon their arrival it was characteristic that Mrs. Washington should have remained at home and sent for George to come and see her. Of that meeting in her modest home we have scant record. But we do know that upon the special request of the foreign officers, among whom were Lafayette, Rochambeau, De Grasse, Von Steuben, and others, Mrs. Washington consented to visit the inn, where she was received by these distinguished foreigners with all the deference due to her noble womanhood. There has come down to us that impressive toast attributed to Lafayette on this occasion when, after meeting Mrs. Washington, he declared:
“ If such are the matrons of America, well may she boast of illustrious sons."