Father’s Day is celebrating its 109th anniversary this year on June 16, and it all began when a young woman wanted to honor her dad.
In May of 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Wash. sat in church listening to a Mother’s Day sermon. She decided she wanted to designate a date for her dad, William Jackson Smart. Dodd’s mother had died in childbirth, and Dodd’s father, a Civil War veteran, had taken the responsibility of single handily raising the newborn, and his other five children.
In 1910, Dodd wanted to celebrate Father’s Day on June 5, her father’s birthday, and petitioned for the holiday to be recognized in her city. Needing more time to arrange the festivities, the Mayor scheduled the date back two weeks and the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910.
The holiday gained more traction in 1938 when a trade organization, the “National Council for the Promotion of Father’s Day”, was formed by the men’s clothing retailers in New York City. They decided to take up the cause as way to stimulate their business.
President Lyndon Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers in 1966, but it wasn’t until1972 that President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it a permanent holiday.
To all fathers who survived the 1930’s 40’s 50’s 60’s and 70’s I can only say that no matter what those of the following generations may think about us, we fathers are awesome as proven by some of the following “Remembrances”
First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin. ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn’t get tested for diabetes.
Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We had no child proof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.
As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes bad brakes. Riding on the back of a pickup truck on a warm summer day was always a special treat.
We were given BB guns on our tenth birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out eyes.
We rode our bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or just walked in and talked to them.
We had try outs for school teams and not everyone made the teams, and those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of, because they actually sided with the law.
Those many past years that produced today’s fathers have turned out some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors the world has ever seen.
To all the fathers of what is now termed the “Greatest Generation” have a Happy Father’s Day.
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