Father’s Day: A daughter’s wish to honor her father

Father’s Day got a jump start from the formation of Mother’s Day. The nation’s first Father’s Day was celebrated in the state of Washington on June 19, 1910. It was fifty-eight years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official — that the day honoring fathers became a holiday in the United States.

FathersDayM1 The campaign to celebrate fathers did not meet with the same enthusiasm. Many men mocked the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving.

Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd is credited with beginning Father’s Day celebrations. Her story began as she sat listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Dodd was struck with the idea of creating a special holiday to honor fathers, too. She felt as though mothers were getting all the acclaim while fathers were equally deserving of a day of praise.

William Jackson Smart, her father, raised her and her five younger brothers by himself after his wife died giving birth to their youngest child in 1898. To show her appreciation for his hard work and love, Dodd thought there should be a day to pay respect to him and other dads like him.

Dodd approached the Spokane YMCA and the Spokane Ministerial Alliance, and she initially suggested June 5, the anniversary of her father’s death to be the designated day to celebrate Father’s Day. The idea received support, but the ministers asked that the day be changed to allow them additional time to prepare sermons on the unexplored subject of fathers.

Slowly, the holiday spread. The first bill was introduced in Congress in 1913, but despite encouragement by President Woodrow Wilson, it did not pass.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge supported Father’s Day to establish closer relationships between fathers and their children, and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations. But no official action was taken. Then in 1966, Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation designating the third Sunday in June to honor fathers.

Finally, in 1972, President Richard Nixon permanently established the observance of the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day in the United States. Since Father’s Day has become a time to recognize the many different father figures in our lives, it is a time to value a father’s role in one’s life and to reflect upon paternal bonding.

Melissa Jones is an experienced mass market and e-commerce buyer with over 15 years in the floriculture industry.


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