Sonora Smart Dodd is credited with starting the modern holiday of Father’s Day in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910. Sonora wanted to recognize her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, a single parent who raised his six children in Arkansas.
After hearing a sermon about Mother’s Day in 1909, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, the pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.
A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized. US President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation.
In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.
There’s your Father’s Day history lesson.
My daughter and I working as docents at our favorite place – Blairsden during Mansion In May. That was my Father’s Day gift this year and I couldn’t have asked for a better one.
Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there. Here are a few pictures of my dad, William Sr – the guy who taught me the real meaning of being a man. Thanks Dad…