Every third Sunday in June children of all ages across America take time to honor the man who brought them into this world. Father's Day is the one day a year when dads can relax, take a load off and finally get that day of well deserved rest they need. A day when everything is put on the back burner; work, that list of home repairs, headaches from annoying kids, etc. But do we know why we celebrate Father's Day, or where it even comes from? Why don't we take some time and examine the origins of Father's Day and give our dad's some time to just sleep on the couch, watch golf or This Old House or whatever else he may enjoy doing, and then we can go tell him the exciting beginnings of Father's Day. DJQV72NG5YQ6
Father's Day was first celebrated in Spokane, Washington in 1910. Sonora Smart Dodd held the first Father's Day on June 19, 1910. She did it to honor her father, William Jackson Smart, who raised six children all on his own. The idea to celebrate honor her father was planted in 1909 when she heard about Anna Jarvis' work with Mother's Day. Sonora then went to her local pastor and pitched the idea of Father's Day to him. She hoped for him to prepare a sermon for June 5, her father's birthday but he wasn't able to prepare it until the third Sunday of June. Father's Day had a tough time catching on and Dodd promoted the holiday until the mid 1920s and it fell into the shadows of history. It wouldn't be until the 1930s when Dodd was finished with school that she would give Father's Day a kick in the pants and raise it to the national stage.
Father's Day gift ideas have been the same since it's creation, but there is a very good reason for that. Unlike Mother's Day which America's took naturally to, Father's Day needed a little extra help. Dodd found that trade groups would benefit from Father's Day. She pitched the idea to many manufacturing companies; tie, tobacco pipe, wallet, cologne producers to name a few but all manufacturers that would profit from a day celebrating dad. In 1938, the Father's Day Council was created by the New York Associated Men's Wear Retailers. The Council then scientifically commercialized the holiday, all aimed at turning a profit. It was pretty evident to Americans that Father's Day was a commercial holiday and was never really celebrated but the Council never gave up. That persistence and never ending quest for more money would finally pay off in the 1980s when the Council said, "Father's Day has become a second Christmas for all the men's gift oriented industries." So we can see why we have traditional Father's Day gifts for the last 100 years, but more importantly put Father's Day on the map even though their intension may be a little off.
In order for Father's Day to become the holiday it is, it need to pass through Washington D.C. There were several attempts at making Father's Day a national holiday since its creation in 1910. "The Professor," President Wilson tried in 1916, but Congress was weary of it commercialized origins. In 1924, President "Silent Cal" Coolidge called for an observation of the day, but never really made an attempt to make it a nationally recognized holiday. 1966, President Johnson issued the first Presidential proclamation recognizing Father's Day nut it wasn't until 1972 when Tricky Dick, President Nixon made it an official holiday. But Father's Day does not go without some controversy on where it originates from. Dodd may have pushed for the celebration and Nixon may have signed it into law but there are some that still say they have the title for holding the first Father's Day.
There are a few place across the nation that try to lay claim to the first Father's Day celebration. Fairmont, West Virginia claims to have held a Father's Day service at Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South in 1908. The event was the honor Grace Golden Clayton's late father who died in the Monongah Mining Disaster in 1907. The service was only locally and only once, so it never spread as Dodd's idea did. In 1911, Jane Addams tried to have Chicago celebrate Father's Day but was turned down in city hall. Methodist pastor J.J. Berringer tried to claim Vancouver, Washington as birthplace of Father's Day but they were a year short of Dodd. Finally in 1915, Harry Meek of the Lions Club International claimed he created Father's Day and chose the third Sunday in June as it was his birthday. The only people to recognized Meek as created of the holiday is the Lions Club.
Who created Father's Day really doesn't matter that third Sunday of June. The important thing is your father. Remembering all the good he has done, does, will do and can do just for you. For me Father's Day is the one day a year I get to see my dad really relax and get to spend some quality time with him. He never asks for nothing but always acts like whatever my brother and I give him is the greatest gift he ever got, this year was lottery tickets and Kashi Bars. The point being that Father's Day was a necessary holiday. It may have been created to by a group of business men to fill their pockets with more money, but the idea behind it is what most Americans value. I'd like to wish all the fathers out there a Happy Father's Day and for everyone else, Father's Day is only once a year, but give your big guy a thanks every once in a while, not just in June.