Although we have been celebrating our fathers with a special day each year since 1910, Father’s Day was not recognized as a national holiday until 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed a Congressional resolution declaring the third Sunday in June to be Father’s Day. The idea to celebrate fathers is often credited to Sonora Smart Dodd, a lifelong resident of Spokane, WA, whom was an accomplished poet, artist, and author of children’s books. Sonora, one of fourteen children raised by a single father, was said to have thought of having a day to celebrate her and every other father after attending the first Mother’s Day service at a church in 1909 (Roos, D., 2018). It is generally believed that on June 19, 1910, Sonora delivered presents to handicapped fathers while boys from the YMCA decorated their lapels with fresh-cut roses – red for living fathers and white for the deceased (Scott, A., 2019).
However, history indicates that on July 5, 1908, a church in West Virginia had a mass to celebrate the memory of over 300 fathers whom had tragically died in an explosion at the mines in Monongah, West Virginia in December of 1907. This ceremony, seemingly, was intended as a memorial rather than an annual celebration, however; as Mother’s Day was a relatively new concept at the time there seemed to be some support to honor fathers on an annual basis. Several presidents were active in the championing of creating a day to celebrate fathers including Wilson (1916), Coolidge (1924), and Johnson (1966).
More than 100 years after the 1908 memorial service, the United States celebrates Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June. The day is intended to recognize and express gratitude to the fathers and father-figures whom have had an impact on our lives. This Father’s Day we hope that each of you enjoy a day of celebration, reflection, and relaxation.
Scott, A. C., (2019). “The History of Father’s Day. Let’s All Cheer for Fathers!”. Retrieved from: https://www.almanac.com/content/history-fathers-day
Roos, D. (2018). “The Man Who Inspired Father’s Day Was a Single Dad and Civil War Vet”. History Channel. Retrieved from: https://www.history.com/news/man-who-inspired-fathers-day-civil-war-vet-single-dad
Encyclopedia Britiannica (n.d.). “Monongah Mining Disaster of 1907”. Retrieved from: https://www.britannica.com/event/Monongah-mining-disaster-of-1907