Moms are awesome, but dads deserve a day to be recognized for all they do too! Did you ever wonder how Father’s Day began? It’s quite a story! It started with a young girl who had five siblings who were all being raised by their single father. Her name was Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington and this is her story1.
In May of 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd sat in church listening to a Mother’s Day sermon. She decided she wanted to designate a day for her dad, William Jackson Smart. Dodd’s mother had died in childbirth, and Dodd’s father, a Civil War veteran, had taken the responsibility of singlehandedly raising the newborn and his other five children.
The following year, Dodd wanted to celebrate Father’s Day on June 5th, her father’s birthday, and petitioned for the holiday to be recognized in her city. Needing more time to arrange the festivities, Spokane’s mayor pushed the date back by two weeks, and the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, according to the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau.
In 1916, President Wilson attended the Father’s Day celebration in Spokane and confirmed that he was working to make the holiday recognized at a national level. Congress initially resisted because they were worried about commercialization. It took 56 years before President Richard Nixon signed Father’s Day into law in 19722.
At the first Father’s Day celebration, young women handed out red roses to their fathers during a church service, and large baskets full of roses were passed around, with attendees encouraged to pin on a rose in honor of their fathers – red for the living and white in memory of the deceased.
One hundred and eleven years later, we still celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday of every June in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and other countries. It’s an anticipated day not just for fathers, but for stepfathers, uncles, grandpas and the other men who take on the role of fatherhood for children everywhere.