Music and the Spoken Word

A Mother's Love - Sunday, May 10, 2015

The year was 1918, the close of World War I. An American Red Cross nurse wrote a letter to the mother of a soldier who had died shortly after the armistice was signed. He had made it through the terrors of war without injury and then, sadly, succumbed in the hospital to pneumonia. Wanting the mother to have more than a brief message from the military about her son’s death, the nurse wrote of what she called the “little things that mean so much to a mother far away from her boy.”

“He was brave and cheerful,” she wrote, “and made a good fight with the disease” until he was too weak to go on. Now, she continued, he “sleeps under a simple white wooden cross among his comrades who, like him, have died for their country. . . . I enclose here a few leaves from the grass that grows near in a pretty meadow.”1

The nurse must have known that the mother had loved her son because that love was reflected in the way he loved others, laughing and talking “to the people around him as long as he was able.”2

And isn’t that what makes a mother? Profound and abiding love for a child. Inspired by that love, mothers are examples, leaders, diplomats, listeners, mediators, and mentors within and beyond the walls of their homes. And with that love, mothers shape the future, one person at a time.

For the most part, a mother’s skills are learned on the job. A mother has common sense not found in books, patience to wait up for a teenager, steadiness to keep smiling when the only word a toddler says is “no,” and forgiveness that holds these dear ones together—and ultimately holds society together too.

The nurse concluded her letter with a tribute to the soldier’s mother that could be penned about mothers everywhere. She wrote, “The country will always . . . honor you for the gift of your boy, but be assured, that the sacrifice is not in vain, and the world is better today for it.”3

1. Maude B. Fisher, in War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars, ed. Andrew Carroll (2001), 170–71.
2. Fisher, in War Letters, 171.
3. Fisher, in War Letters, 171.

May 10, 2015
Broadcast Number 4,469

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg
Ryan Murphy

Richard Elliott

Lloyd Newell

Look at the World
John Rutter

Mother, Tell Me the Story
Janice Kapp Perry; arr. Mack Wilberg

Songs My Mother Taught Me
Antonin Dvořák; arr. Richard Elliott

Love at Home
John Hugh McNaughton; arr. Mack Wilberg

A Lullaby
Ryan Murphy

Hold On, from The Secret Garden
Lucy Simon; arr. Ryan Murphy