History of Father’s Day

June 15, 2018

William Smart was a Civil War Veteran who was widowed when his wife died in childbirth after delivering their sixth child. As an adult, Sonora Smart Dodd (one of Smart’s daughters) admired and appreciated her dad’s selfless love and strength in raising her and her siblings. adult-brother-child-34014After listening to a sermon on Mother’s Day in 1910 at her church in Spokane, WA, she wanted to find a way to honor her father. Dodd drew up a petition recommending adoption of a national Father’s Day. She chose the first Sunday of June that year (June 5) because it was her father’s birthday. Spokane Ministerial Association and the local YMCA supported it, but they pushed the date to June 19 so they had more time to prepare. Th rough Dodd’s efforts, Spokane celebrated the first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910. Over the next decade, places around the U.S. began celebrating this day. It wasn’t until 1966 though that President Lyndon Johnson signed a Presidential declaration announcing the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.

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