is the origin of
Sonora Louise Smart Dodd
Just like Mother's Day, Father's Day is celebrated in every part of the world.
In the United
States, Canada and most countries in Asia, Father's Day is the
third Sunday in June.
Although Father's Day is not observed on the same day
in some countries (like Spain
and Belgium where Father's Day falls on March
19th, Sweden on the second Sunday of
November, and New Zealand on the first
Sunday of September), expressing gratitude
and appreciation for dads with
a special day seems to be universal. Today, Father's Day
is not only a day
to honor fathers, but one to show respect for all father figures. Families
honor grandfathers, stepfathers, uncles and other adult male figures that are
special to them.
Louise Smart Dodd, of Spokane, Washington, was 27 when she listened to a Sunday
sermon about Mother's Day in 1909 and wondered why there was no corresponding
day for fathers.
(Mother's Day observances began in 1908 in West Virginia
and Pennsylvania, according to Hallmark
Cards in Kansas City.) She was just
16 when her own father, Civil War veteran William Jackson
Smart, was widowed
when his wife died in childbirth with their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to
the newborn and his five other children by himself on a rural farm in
eastern Washington state.
Dodd began her campaign after that sermon. She believed that the nation did not
show enough respect to fathers, citing such popular songs of the day as "Everybody
But Father," she promoted Father's Day out of love for her father.
group of men conventioneers laughed and said they didn't want a Father's Day,"
to an article in The Spokesman-Review. "A national fishing
day would be better, they told
her." She persuaded the Spokane Ministerial
Association and local YMCA to pass a resolution
in support of Father's Day,
and the first local Father's Day was observed on June 19, 1910,
Washington. Mrs. Dodd wanted Father's Day to be celebrated on the first
in June, her father's birthday. However, the Spokane council could not
the resolution through the first reading until the third Sunday in June.
and organizations began lobbying Congress to declare an annual Father's Day.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson approved of this idea, but it was not until
President Calvin Coolidge made it a national event to "establish
more intimate relations
between fathers and their children and to impress
upon fathers the full measure of their
obligations." In 1966 President
Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation
declaring the 3rd Sunday
of June as Father's Day.
Sonora Smart Dodd was honored for her contribution at the World's Fair in
Spokane in 1974. Mrs. Dodd died in 1978 at age 96.
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