Father’s Day is Sunday, June 19. In that spirit, to all of you dads out there, a very happy Father’s Day to you! Especially to my wonderful husband, my two sons, my brother, my son in law and uncles.
The origin of Father’s Day is not clear. Some say that it began with a church service in West Virginia in 1908. Others say the first Father’s Day ceremony was held in Vancouver, Washington.
Furthermore, Father’s Day was supposedly invented by two women; here are their stories.
The first woman thought to have brought up the idea of Father’s Day was named Sonora Smart Dodd. It is said that Ms. Dodd thought of the idea while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Having been raised by her father, William Jackson Smart, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. Mr. Smart who was a Civil War veteran, was 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. Ms. Dodd felt that it was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Legend goes that Sonora’s father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.
The other woman believed to have conceived the idea of Father’s Day was Grace Golden Clayton. Her story goes like this. Ms. Clayton was inspired to celebrate fathers after a deadly mine explosion in a nearby town called Monongah, West Virginia the prior December. This explosion killed more than 360 men, 210 of whom were fathers. Many of the fathers killed were recent immigrants to the United States from Italy. Ms. Clayton suggested the service to the pastor.
This Father’s Day observance was held on July 5, 1908, at Fairmont, West Virginia.
Even though we don’t know which woman came up with the idea first, what we do know is that in 1926, a National Father’s Day Committee was formed in New York City and Father’s Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.