How much do you really know about Father’s Day? Hint: It’s more than a day for Hallmark cards. In America, the day to recognize dads was founded by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was raised by a single dad, and celebrated on the third Sunday of June for the first time in 1910.
Dodd’s father, William Smart, raised her and five brothers after their mother died during childbirth.
While listening to a Mother’s Day sermon with her father at the Central Methodist Church in 1909, Dodd was bothered that there wasn’t a day to honor her civil war veteran father who raised her and five younger brothers alone, according to ABC News.
The YMCA of Spokane, Washington, and the Ministerial Alliance endorsed Dodd’s idea of Father’s Day and held a celebration in 1910. Dodd wanted the celebration to be held on June 5, her father’s birthday, but planning difficulties pushed the first Father’s Day celebration to Sunday, June 19, 1910.
President Woodrow Wilson sanctioned the idea of celebrating Father’s Day in 1913 and visited Spokane to join the celebration in 1916. President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea in 1924, as well. In 1957, U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith from Maine introduced a bill to create a federally proclaimed day writing:
Either we honor both our parents, mother and father, or let us desist from honoring either one. But to single out just one of our two parents and omit the other is the most grievous insult imaginable.
President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day in 1966. President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of the day in 1972.
Father’s Day is a day of honoring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society. In Catholic countries of Europe, it has been celebrated on March 19 as Saint Joseph’s Day since the Middle Ages.
- Dad and baby: Pixaby