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The Origins of a Special Day for Dad

Published July 15, 2007        by Nicole

Each year on the third Sunday of June, families and individuals in the United States and Canada celebrate the special man in their lives - their fathers!  These strong, masculine, hard-working individuals who have had a big part of our upbringing need a special day too.The question is, "When did this wonderful holiday begin?"The strongest promoter of the holiday was Mrs. Bruce John Dodd of Spokane, Washington.  Mrs. Dodd had a very high opinion and respect for her father.  Her father, William Smart, a veteran of the Civil War, raised six children without their mother after his wife died young while giving birth to their sixth child.  His selflessness and devotion to her and her siblings was unwavering.

With appreciation and high regard for her father and after listening to a sermon on Mother's Day, in 1909 Mrs. Dodd approached her minister and others in Spokane to request a church service dedicated to fathers on June 5.  This date was her father's birthday and Sonora wanted a special day to remember her father. June 5th was too soon for the minister to prepare the service so he spoke a few weeks later on June 19th.

Spokane first celebrated its first Father's Day on June 19, 1910.  From that time on, the state of Washington celebrated the third Sunday in June as Father's Day.

In early celebrations, people wore flowers as a traditional way of celebrating Father's Day.  Mrs. Dodd chose the red rose to honor a father still living, while a white flower honored a deceased dad.

Soon, states and organizations began lobbying Congress to declare the special day an annual Father's Day.  President Woodrow Wilson approved of this idea in 1916, but it was not until 1924 when President Calvin Coolidge made it a national event.  Quoting President Coolidge, the event was to "establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measures of their obligations."

Since then, Father's Day is held on the third Sunday in June throughout the USA and Canada, and fathers are recognized and honored by their families on this special day.  President Lyndon Johnson, in 1966, put the official stamp on a celebration that had already been going on for almost half a century and signed a proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day.

Everyone has a father and some of you may be fathers.  In other situations, some are single moms who are both "mother and father" to a child. In any case, fathers impact children's lives in more ways than we will ever know.

Little boys like to imitate their fathers or, as they say, "walk with Daddy's big shoes on."  Little girls look up to their fathers for approval and it is said that the love the love a father shows his daughter reflects the type of man she will marry.

June 19th, 2005 is Father's Day and a special day to celebrate your special Dad.  How will you show your appreciation and love to the wonderful man in your life?  Cook a special dinner for him with all of his favorite dishes, bring him to his favorite restaurant, or be creative and make him a special Father's Day gift.

If the miles separate you from your father this special day, send a greeting card, flowers, or a holiday gift basket that is perfectly suited to him!

Give your dad a hug and show him your love this Father's Day!