It started with Mother's Day, founded by Anna Jarvis in 1909 as a commemoration of the moms who had sons who died in the Civil War.
Sonora Smart Dodd, daughter of Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart (a single parent who raised 6 children in Spokane, WA), heard a sermon about Jarvis' Mother's Day in 1909. She encouraged her pastor that there should be a similar holiday to honor fathers and she suggested June 5th, her father's birthday. However, the pastor didn't have a enough time to prepare a sermon so the celebration was postponed to the 3rd Sunday of June in 1910 and that's when it's celebrated today.
|Men like flowers, too!|
Commercialism Got It Going
Makers of ties, pipes and other traditional gifts for men, jumped on the bandwagon. The New York Associated Men's Wear Retailers set up the "Father's Day Council" which aided Ms. Dodd efforts. This commercialism may have hindered the holiday from getting official Federal Government recognition.
Congress Ignores Dads
Since 1913 supporters of having Father's Day recognized as a national holiday have tried to get Congress to declare it so. Presidents Wilson & Coolidge tried but were unsuccessful. Congress feared it would become too commercialized!
Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith in 1957 accused Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, "[singling] out just one of our two parents."
It wasn't until 1966 when President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation which honored fathers and designated the 3rd Sunday in June as Father's Day. Still, it was President Richard Nixon who in 1972 finally signed it into law.
Now, over 20 countries around the world celebrate Father's Day in one form or another.
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