"One group of men conventioneers laughed and said they didn't want a Father's Day," according to an
article in the Spokesman-Review. "A national day of fishing 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, in Spokane, Washington. Mrs. Dodd wanted
Father's Day to be celebrated on the first Sunday in June, her father's birthday. However, the Spokane
council could not get the resolution through the first reading until the third Sunday in June.
States 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 1924 when 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.
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 celebrated on 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
Sonora 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, by Anna
Marie Jarvis.) 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 raise the newborn and his five other
children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state.
Sonora 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 Works But Father," she promoted Father's
Day out of love for her father.
|What Makes A Dad?
God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea ...
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight ...
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need ...
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it ... "Dad!"