Dad, Pops, Padre, Father…
Father’s day… A day where fathers are honored or a day where dads can be lazy and have a good excuse for it. Two different explanations that are practically the same.
On July 19, 1910, the governor of the of Washington proclaimed the nation’s first “Father’s Day.” It was not until 1972, 58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official, that the day became a nationwide holiday in the United States.
On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event explicitly in honor of fathers, a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah in December of 1907. This was a one-time commemoration and not an annual holiday. The next year, Washington woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea. She was successful; Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on July 19, 1910.
Slowly, the holiday spread. In 1916, President Wilson honored the day by using telegraph signals to unfurl a flag in Spokane when he pressed a button in his Washington, D.C. office. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day. Many men continued to disdain the day. As one historian writes, they “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products…often paid for by the father himself.”
In 1972, Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday at last. Today, economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on Father’s Day gifts.
This holiday is very sentimental to a lot of people and will forever be an important day for a lot of men. The pride a man has in what he created to become a father will forever outlast the gifts and the attention.
Suezan Hoskins / Robertson County News
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