On Feb. 7, 1904, Fraternal Order of Eagles Past Grand Worthy President Frank E. Hering made a public plea for a new national holiday. Hering's hope was to have a day dedicated to honoring mothers everywhere. A decade later, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making that dream a reality. The second Sunday in May each year was officially declared Mother's Day.
While the F.O.E. continues to celebrate and take pride in the creation of Mother's Day, many citizens are unaware of the organization's work toward making the holiday a reality. The Sunshine Aerie and Auxiliary of the Fraternal Order of Eagles #2421 encourages members of the community to visit our local organization, located at 114 West Main St. in Vermillion to learn more about the F.O.E. and what we do to uphold the spirit of Mother's Day and assist those in need.
One hundred eight years later, the achievement of Hering and the F.O.E. remains one of the most significant milestones in the history of the organization. From preparing brunch to buying cards and flowers, the spirit of the organization lives on through our actions each Mother's Day.
Hering, a faculty member at the University of Notre Dame, found inspiration for the holiday when he stumbled upon a classroom of students preparing postcards to send home to their mothers. The generous task inspired him to create a day specifically for honoring and recognizing mothers.
Serving as grand worthy president in 1909 and 1911, Hering used his position of influence to spread his idea for Mother's Day. Soon the enthusiasm swelled throughout the organization and Eagles across the country were eager to see their dream become a reality.
Aeries began hosting their own celebrations to honor mothers and finally their hard work paid off as President Wilson designated May 10, 1914, the first Mother's Day. Several organizations have stepped forward in an attempt to take credit for the holiday, but documented evidence shows that Hering – and the Eagles – were the true founders of Mother's Day.
In 1925, the Society of War Mothers introduced Hering as "The Father of Mother's Day" before an audience of Congressmen at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier cementing his legacy – and that of the Eagles – as the founder of Mother's Day.
As we celebrate another Mother's Day 98 years after Wilson officially recognized the Eagles' work, we ask citizens everywhere to honor the important women in their lives and remember the passion and dedication an organization shared with the world to make it all possible.