Music and the Spoken Word

Somebody's Mother - Sunday, May 8, 2016

On the second Sunday in May 1908, Anna Jarvis honored her late mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, by organizing America’s first-ever Mother’s Day services. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday, but by then this official action was mostly a technicality. Anna Jarvis had already persuaded most states in the union to observe Mother’s Day. Now the tradition of a special day to honor mothers has spread around the world.

Anna’s original vision of Mother’s Day was relatively simple: visit or write to your mother, and thank her for the service she has rendered in your behalf. However we remember mothers—with flowers, cards, phone calls, or a personal visit—the key is that our expressions of love and appreciation come from the sincerity of our hearts.

So today we honor mothers—our own and the women around us with mothering hearts, whether or not they have been blessed with children. For as the beloved poem by Mary Dow Brine reminds us, we are surrounded by women who deserve to be honored, on this day and always:

The woman was old and ragged and gray
And bent with the chill of the Winter’s day. . . .
She stood at the crossing and waited long,
Alone, uncared for, amid the throng
Of human beings who passed her by
Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eye.
Down the street, with laughter and shout,
Glad in the freedom of “school let out,”
Came the boys like a flock of sheep,
Hailing the snow piled white and deep. . . .
[One] paused beside her and whispered low,
“I’ll help you cross, if you wish to go. . . .
“She’s somebody’s mother, boys, you know,
For all she’s aged and poor and slow.
“And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand,
“If ever she’s poor and old and gray,
When her own dear boy is far away.”
And “somebody’s mother” bowed low her head
In her home that night, and the prayer she said
Was, “God be kind to the noble boy,
Who is somebody’s son, and pride and joy!”

-Lloyd D. Newell

1. See Katharine Lane Antolini, “The Tenacious Woman Who Helped Keep Mother’s Day Alive,” Smithsonian, May 8, 2015,
2. “Somebody’s Mother,” in The Best Loved Poems of the American People, sel. Hazel Felleman (1936), 373–75.

May 8, 2016
Broadcast Number 4,521

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

“The Heart of a Mother”

Mack Wilberg

Clay Christiansen

Lloyd Newell

For the Beauty of the Earth
John Rutter

A Mother’s Eyes Reflect the Love of Heaven
Stephen Jones

All Things Bright and Beautiful
English melody; arr. Mack Wilberg

A Mother’s Lullaby
Clay Christiansen

Be Thou My Vision
Irish melody; arr. Anna Laura Page

Mother, I Followed Your Footsteps
R. Ross Boothe

On a Wonderful Day like Today
Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley; arr. Sam Cardon