THE HISTORY OF FATHER'S DAY

   
The first unofficial observance of Father's Day took place in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5th, 1908.  This day was organized by Mrs. Grace Clayton, who wished to commemorate the lives of 210 fathers lost in the Monongah mining disaster, several months earlier.  The person responsable for the Father's Day we all know today was Mrs. John B. Dodd (Sonora Louise Smart) of Spokane, Washington.  Proceeding a church sermon in 1909, about the newly recognized Mother's Day, Sonora felt that fathers needed recognition too.  She wanted to honor men like her own father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran that was left to raise his family alone when his wife died giving birth to their 6th child when Sonora was 16.Sonora with the help of her pastor, the Spokane YMCA and the ministerial Alliance, brought her idea to life by celebrating the first Father's Day in 1910.  She suggested that it be on her fathers birthday, June 5th but the pastors needed more time to prepare so they chose June 19th.  It still took many years to make the holiday official.  Even with the support from YWCA, YMCA and churches, Father's Day almost dissapeared from the calendar.  People viewed Father's Day as a joke and another attempt at filling the calendar with useless promotions.  In 1966, President Lynden B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclomation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day.  This day was finally made a permanent national holiday by President Richard Nixon as he signed it into law in 1972.


Fathers day monument





 

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