Last month we featured a story we called "history of Mother’s
Day" which was a huge hit (if you missed it here's a link »). So this month it is
only appropriate to give the guys equal time...
Sonora Dodd, of Washington, was one of the first people who had the idea of a
"father's day." She thought of the concept of Father's Day while listening to a
Mother's Day sermon in 1909.
Sonora wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, who was a Civil War
veteran and widowed when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child. Mr. Smart
was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in
eastern Washington State.
After Sonora became an adult, she realized the selflessness her father had shown in
raising his children as a single parent. Her father made all the parental sacrifices and
was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora's father
was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane,
Washington on June 19, 1910.
Even before Dodd, however, the idea of observing a day in honor of fathers was
promoted. Dr. Robert Webb conducted what is believed as the first Father's Day service at
the Central Church of Fairmont, West Virginia in 1908. It was Dodd's efforts, however,
that eventually led to a national observance.
President Calvin Coolidge, in 1924, supported the idea of a national Father's Day. Then
in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd
Sunday of June as Father's Day, but for only one year. On April 24, 1972, President
Richard Nixon signed into law a permanent Father’s Day to be observed on the third
Sunday in June, and assured its recognition as a Presidential Proclamation. Today
Father’s Day is as important as Mother’s Day.