Today is the day we honor our fathers. True, we didn’t naturally come by this day but it is a great way to let our dads know we care and appreciate them. So let’s get the history of father’s day correct. I’ll start with Wikipedia. Here’s what they have to say.
Father’s Day got its start in 1909 in Spokane, Washington when Sonora Smart Dodd sat in church and heard about the newly recognized Mother’s Day. She wanted to honor men like her own father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran who was left to raise a family of six children alone when his wife died at the birth of her sixth child. The next year with the help of Reverend Bluhm, pastor of her church, she took the idea to the YMCA in Spokane, suggesting June 5th. The pastors wanted time to prepare and June 19, 1910 was the first recognized Father’s Day with all the young members going to church wearing either a red rose to honor a living father or a white one to honor a deceased one. Dodd herself delivered presents by horse-drawn carriage to shut-in fathers throughout the city.
It took many years for Father’s Day to be made an official holiday in spite of the support it received from many organizations and churches. It was getting attention for all the wrong reasons and was the target of satire, parody and derision including publicized jokes via many newspapers. Many saw it as a way for the calendar to be filled with mindless promotions.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak at a Father’s Day celebration and decided he wanted to make it official. Congress resisted, though it hadn’t for Mother’s Day, fearing it would become too commercialized. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended that the day be observed by the nation but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation. In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for over 40 years while honoring mothers thus discriminating against one parent. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers and designated the 3rd Sunday in June as the official Father’s Day. 1n 1972, President Richard Nixon signed that proclamation into law.
Until I saw this history, I hadn’t realized just how convoluted the process had been to get Father’s Day on the books. I personally would have to agree with the Maine senator about the discrimination against dads. There are many great fathers out there just as there are great mothers. There are also bad of both. True, dads don’t have to make the supreme effort of bringing a child into the world but sometimes, they end up being the only parent. It is during those times where they go above and beyond the call of duty trying to do the best they can by their children.
For me, I have a wonderful father. I didn’t know how wonderful until my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My Dad was there every day at the hospital for most of his waking hours. He lovingly cared for my mother in a way that no one else could have. His love and devotion to his soul mate made me proud to have to have him as my father. I would not trade him for any other dad in the world. I've included a picture of him with my husband and youngest son the day he moved to Idaho Falls.
Tell me about your father when you get a chance...I would love to hear about him...I’m sure each is very special.
See you tomorrow!