Little known facts about Father’s Day

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Father’s Day is Sunday and it is a time when sons and daughters honor their dads on this special day.

It was a daughter who lost her mother in the late 1800s who pushed to recognize fathers and all they do for their children. This woman from Spokane Washington – considered the birthplace of Father’s Day – heard a Mother’s Day sermon at her church. Sonora Smart Dodd was inspired to propose that fathers receive equal recognition.

“Dodd, often referred to as the ‘Mother of Father’s Day,’ was 16 years old when her mother died in 1898, leaving her father William Jackson Smart to raise Sonora and her five younger brothers on a remote farm in eastern Washington,” according to a news release from the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau. “(In 1909), Sonora took the idea to the Spokane YMCA. The Spokane YMCA, along with the ministerial alliance, endorsed Dodd’s idea and helped it spread by celebrating the first Father’s Day in 1910.”

Mother’s Day was established in 1916 by proclamation from President Woodrow Wilson. He approved of the idea of celebrating Father’s Day but never signed a proclamation for the holiday, according to usa.gov.

Dodd suggested her father’s birthday, June 5, be established as the day to honor all fathers; however, the pastors wanted more time to prepare, so June 19, 1910 was designated as the first Father’s Day.

“His kindness and the sacrifices he made inspired me,” Dodd said in the New York Sun on June 17, 1939. “Besides that, at that time the pendulum of disrespect for fathers had swung too far, I thought…I thought that fathers should be revered as mothers always had been.”

It was years before Father’s Day gained national attention. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recognized Father’s Day and urged states to do likewise, according to the release. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation calling for the third Sunday in June to be recognized as Father’s Day and requested that flags be flown that day on all government buildings. It was in 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation proclaiming Father’s Day be observed on the third Sunday in June, permanently.

Today, Father’s Day is celebrated in over 50 countries around the world.

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