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Today, March 6, is the UK Mothering Sunday (Mothers’ Day) held on the fourth Sunday of Lent (three weeks before Easter Sunday). Originally people returned to the church where they were baptized (their ‘Mother Church’) resulting in family gatherings. Young people who were working as servants in large houses, were given a holiday on Mothering Sunday to visit their own mother and often took a gift of food or hand-me-down clothing from their employers. This has led to the modern meaning of Mothers’ Day when people still visit and take gifts to their mothers.

Traditionally, people did not eat sweet, rich foods during Lent. On Mothering Sunday, this was relaxed and a Simnel cake prepared. This is a light fruitcake topped with marzipan. Marzipan is also baked into the middle. Legend suggests it was named after Lambert Simnel, who worked in Henry VII’s kitchens around 1500.

Mother's Day in the United States is annually held on the second Sunday of May. With more secular origins, it focuses on a celebration of motherhood and it is a time to appreciate mothers and mother figures. Many people give gifts, cards, flowers, candy, a meal in a restaurant or other treats to their mother and mother figures, including grandmothers, great-grandmothers, stepmothers, and foster mothers.

The 5BFTS cadets, mostly away from home for the first time, would therefore have had two occasions when their distance from home, and their mothers, would have had extra poignancy. In Flypaper1, May 7, 1942 (for the US Mothers’ Day) Jack Hobler, a Flypaper Associate Editor, put some of those feelings into verse, but also gave a new perspective to the meaning of Mothers’ Day. The full poem is at the end of the newsletter, but the last three lines read:

“Defending other mothers, sons, he's fighting now in air. God's blessing on you, Mother dear, for giving such a son; We can't repay the debt we owe to you when this war's won”.

So true!

‘Their efforts to preserve the freedom of the world were not in vain and will never be forgotten’



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