The History Of Father's Day

In the United States, there are two claims to the first Father's Day celebration. The first claim to Father's Day was in the State of Washington on June 19, 1908. A few weeks later, an independent celebration of Father's Day was held in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908.

In West Virginia, Father's Day was first recognized during a church service at Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South. Grace Golden Clayton, who is reported to have suggested the service to the pastor at Williams Memorial, is believed to have been inspired to celebrate fathers after a mine explosion in the nearby community of Monongah a few months before. This explosion killed 361 men, many of them fathers and recent immigrants to the United States from Italy.

Another driving force behind the establishment of Father's Day was Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd. Her father was William Jackson Smart, who reared his six children in Spokane, Washington as a single father. Although she initially suggested setting Father's Day on June 5 in Spokane (which was her father's birthday), the other people involved did not think they would have time enough for a fitting celebration. So the first Father's Day was held instead on the third Sunday of June. The first June Father's Day was celebrated on June 19, 1908, in Spokane, WA, at the Spokane YMCA.

Orator and politician William Jennings Bryan embraced the concept immediately and began sharing his support broadly. President Woodrow Wilson was the first U.S. President to celebrate Father's Day in June of 1916, a party hosted by his family. President Calvin Coolidge recommended it as a national holiday in 1924. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson by executive order made Father's Day a holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June. The holiday was not officially recognized until 1972, when it was formally acknowledged by a Congressional Act setting it permanently on the third Sunday in June nationwide.
No matter how it was started, it is still a VERY important day to Honor the men who value their children, their families and their communities.  Fathers will always be important to our society!
Happy Father's Day!  Enjoy!

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Karri Schmehil

Karri Schmehil

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