Father’s Day will be celebrated on June 17th this year. It was created to honor and celebrate fathers and to acknowledge the important role they have in our lives. Father’s Day began in May of 1909.
Sonora Smart Dodd was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in a Washington state church when she thought there should be a day to honor and celebrate fathers too. She felt that fathers were equally deserving of a day of appreciation. Her mother died during the birth of her sixth child, when Sonora was sixteen. Her father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran raised the six children by himself on his small farm in Spokane, Washington with hard work and lots of love.
Sonora began a campaign to celebrate Father’s Day in the United States. She got support from the local YMCA and the Spokane Ministerial Association. She suggested June 5 which was the anniversary of her father’s death. Bad planning led to the first Father’s Day being celebrated in Spokane on June 19, 1910 instead. Gradually the idea gained popularity and Father’s Day was celebrated in cities across the country.
The heightened popularity of Father’s Day caused President Woodrow Wilson to approve of the idea in 1916. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended that it become a national holiday, but no official action was taken. President Lyndon B. Johnson issued an executive order in 1966 designating the third Sunday in June as the official day to celebrate fathers. It wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon made Father’s Day a permanent holiday. In 1974, Sonora Smart Dodd was honored for her contribution at the World’s Fair in Spokane. She died at age 96 in 1978.
Today, Father’s Day is a time to recognize all the different father figures in our lives. Over $1 billion is spent by Americans each year on greeting cards and gifts in honor of fathers. Shop at Earp’s to find something special for your father today.