History of Father’s Day

History of Father’s Day

The United States and Canada are among the few countries that honor fathers with a special day every year, and the history of this holiday is enjoyable. Every 3rd Sunday in June is set aside for this special day. There is some debate as to when the first Father’s Day took place. Still, history generally acknowledges that a woman named Sonora Dodd was the most active in promoting this day for dads.

Sonora Dodd was from Spokane, Washington. When listening to a sermon about mothers on Mother’s Day in 1908, she got the idea of honoring fathers as well. Sonora’s father was a civil war veteran who, along with his wife, was raising their five children on a farm in eastern Washington state. It was during the birth of their sixth child that his wife died, leaving her father, William Smart, to raise the six children by himself.

It is no wonder that Sonora thought of her father on mother’s day as she had grown up. She saw his tireless efforts and sacrifice to keep his family together. She wanted to honor him and all the fathers like him who raised their children in such a dedicated and selfless way. So Sonora spoke to the pastor of her church and told him of her idea. She had initially been picked June 5th as the date of the first Father’s Day since it was her own father’s birthday. But as the church and community couldn’t organize the event that quickly, they settled on the third Sunday of June.

It wasn’t too long before the idea caught on with other cities and states, and soon. Many countries and organizations began to lobby congress to declare Father’s Day an official U.S. holiday, much like Mother’s Day.

Finally, in 1924, Father’s Day became national when President Calvin to “establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children. And to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations,” agreed with the idea of a national Father’s Day. However, it was not until 1966 under President Lyndon Johnson, that Father’s Day became official when he signed a Presidential Proclamation. That declared every 3rd Sunday in June would be set aside to honor Father’s. In 1972 President Richard Nixon then made that 3rd Sunday in June a permanent national observance, a little behind Mother’s day which was official almost 60 years before!

Today, like mother’s day, children can continue this history of honoring their father’s by wearing a white flower. If their father is deceased, or a red one if he is still living. It is an important day to make contact through phone calls, visits, cards, and gifts, strengthening bonds, and even repairing and renewing some old ones between father and child.

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