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The Origin of Father's Day by Jesse Bluma

The Origin of Father's Day

The first observance of Father's Day is believed to have been held on June 19, 1910 through the efforts of Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington.  After listening to a church sermon at Spokane's Central Methodist Episcopal Church in 1909 about the newly recognized Mother's Day, Dodd felt strongly that fatherhood needed recognition, as well.  She wanted a celebration that honored fathers like her own father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran who was left to raise his family alone when his wife died giving birth to their sixth child when Sonora was 16 years old.

It took many years to make the holiday official.  In spite of support from the YWCA, the YMCA, and churches, Father's Day ran the risk of disappearing from the calendar.  Many people saw it as the first step in filling the calendar with mindless promotions.  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; Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized.   

The day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.  In addition to Father's Day, International Men's Day is celebrated in many countries on November 19 for men and boys who are not fathers.

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(Credits:, Sira Anamwong,

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