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Fathers are Special – The History of Father’s Day

Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June every year. It is a tribute to the selfless love and support of the father. It is a day to honor not only your father, but also all the Father Figures in your life: grandfathers, stepfathers, uncles, and brothers.

It was Mrs. Sonora Dodd who brought forth the idea of a father’s day in 1909. This was done in the memory of her father William Smart. Mr. Smart was a civil war veteran. His wife passed away during the birth of their sixth child. Young William Smart was left all alone with five children and a newborn to care for. They were living on a rural farm in eastern Washington State.

Life was hard and lonely for him raising the six children as a single parent. As Mrs. Dodd grew mature she truly realized her father’s grit and selflessness in single-handedly raising six children. It was her father who had made all the parental sacrifices in raising the little children in the face of adversity.

As she was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was. So she thought of a way to immortalize her courageous and loving father. As William Smart was born in June, Sonora Dodd celebrated the first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington. This idea caught the imagination of the people and later on it was celebrated at various places.

The idea of a National Father’s Day was supported by President Calvin Coolidge in 1924. It was only in 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson declared the third Sunday of June as the National Father’s Day by presidential proclamation. President Richard Nixon signed the law, which finally made it permanent in 1972.

So, gradually, what started as a personal tribute of a loving daughter, swelled into a National Father’s Day, a commemoration of the father figure.

This day is celebrated with lots of warmth and gifts are exchanged. It is customary to wear a red rose for a living father. If your father is not alive, you remember him by wearing a white rose.

Usually, the day starts with children serving breakfast in bed to their dear dads. The tray is loaded with their father’s favorites, gifts, and cards. It is traditional to give creative ties for Father’s Day. The cards usually proclaim “World’s Best Dad.” The day is spent together with the family. There is a cookout arranged usually prepared by dad himself.