News Release

Mother’s Day and War


Mothers and their families will gather in front of the White House from 3 p.m. on Saturday until 3 p.m. on Sunday to call for an end to the war in Iraq and stand against a military attack on Iran. Cindy Sheehan and Elaine Johnson will be among those there; both had sons killed in the war in Iraq. Mother’s Day in the U.S. has its origins in the peace movement, see Code Pink’s website. For more information, contact: Meredith Dearborn, cell (650) 208-2788.

In May 2004, Meredith’s only child — Lt. Ken Ballard — was killed in Iraq at the age of 26. Her decision to become actively involved in antiwar efforts came a short time later, at his funeral at Arlington Cemetery. “I looked down at his grave,” recalls Meredith, “and I said, ‘If I don’t speak, how will people know what it feels like to be a Gold Star mother, to walk this path?'”

Meredith is one of many mothers taking part in events in D.C. this weekend revolving around the “Eyes Wide Open: The Human Cost of War” exhibit currently on the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the Capitol. Lessin is founder of Military Families Speak Out, is available for interviews and can arrange interviews with other military mothers.
Information on many of the mothers participating
More on the “Eyes Wide Open” exhibit

Aseel Al Banna was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq, were she studied architecture and urban studies at the school of architectural engineering at the University of Technology. Finding herself in the midst of violence wrought by the First Gulf War, Aseel left Iraq in 1992 and eventually made it to the United States where she obtained her architectural degree from the University of Kentucky. She recently traveled with an Iraqi women’s delegation throughout the United States to shed light on the human cost of war, and its impact on women and children.
More Information

Each year the president issues a Mother’s Day Proclamation. The original Mother’s Day Proclamation was issued in 1870. Written by Julia Ward Howe — best known today for having written the words to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in 1862 when she was an antislavery activist — the original Proclamation was an impassioned call for peace and disarmament. In the years following the Civil War her political activism increased, as did her condemnation of war. Here are the words of the original Mother’s Day Proclamation.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167