This Sunday, June 16, America will celebrate Fathers Day. Don’t forget to pick up a little something for your cherished Dad. Here is a little Wikipedia history of how it all got started:
Father’s Day was founded at the YMCA in Spokane, Washington by Sonora Smart Dodd. Its first celebration was on June 19, 1910. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children and Sonora felt he deserved special recognition.
After hearing a sermon about Mother’s Day in 1909, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, the pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.
It did not have much success initially. In the 1920s, Dodd stopped promoting the celebration because she was studying in the Art Institute of Chicago, and it faded into relative obscurity, even in Spokane. In the 1930s Dodd returned to Spokane and started promoting the celebration again by raising awareness at a national level.
She had the help of those trade groups that would benefit most from the holiday, such as the manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes, and other traditional present unique to fathers (no more Soap-On-A-Rope please!).
Since 1938 she had the help of the Father’s Day Council, founded by the New York Associated Men’s Wear Retailers to consolidate and systematize the commercial promotion.
Americans resisted the holiday during a few decades, perceiving it as just an attempt by merchants to replicate the commercial success of Mother’s Day, and newspapers frequently featured cynical and sarcastic attacks and jokes. But the trade groups did not give up: they kept promoting it and even incorporated the jokes into their adverts, and they eventually succeeded.
By the mid 1980s the Father’s Council wrote “…Father’s Day has become a ‘Second Christmas’ for all the men’s gift-oriented industries.”
A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized. US President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation. Two other attempts to formally recognize the holiday had been defeated by Congress.
In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus “[singling] out just one of our two parents”. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.
It is interesting that a day set to honor men was pressed into existence by women, and that Fathers Day found its conception in a church. Other Holidays that find their roots in church are Lent, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter, Pentecost, Advent, Christmas, Mothers Day, St Patrick’s Day, and any Sunday in February the Dallas Cowboys make it to the Super Bowl. That surely must be an act of God-Go Vikings!
For many people Fathers Day has come to symbolize a moment of reflection on the lessons learned, the examples set, and tender memories made by a man committed to his children. As they say, “Any man can be a father a child but it takes someone special to be a Dad”.
Here is one daughter who will never forget this very special day with her father. We challenge you to watch the entire video and then post a comment on our Facebook page and let us know if you made it all the way through without needing a tissue, (or if you screamed at the dad; “SHUT THE DOOR!!”)
Good luck at the 2:22 and 3:00 marks!