Why We Honor Dad

More than 50 years after Mother’s Day became an official national holiday in 1914, dad’s officially got their recognition in 1972. Despite Father's Day not being officially recognized until the 70’s, the first recorded official celebration happened as early as 1908.

The first recorded instance of a Father's Day celebration was on July 5th, 1908 which was held at a Methodist church in Fairmont, West Virginia. The celebration was organized to honor all Fathers, but particularly those that had lost their lives in a recent mining accident where over 300 men were said to have died in the explosion.

The second recorded celebration in 1910 concerned a woman who was thought to have really championed the holiday because of a unique and heartwarming story.

As the story goes, Sonora Smart Dodd and her six siblings were raised entirely by their father after their mother died giving birth to the youngest sibling. A man raising his children alone was not a common occurrence. The widowed man would usually remarry or have a female relative come to live with them so that he could get help with the child raising. Although more common now, it is still somewhat of a rarity even now in the 21st century. While sitting in church on Mother’s Day listening to the sermon, Miss Dodd felt her Father along with all fathers like him, deserved just as much recognition and celebration as the Mothers did.

But still, even though we can document these two recorded celebrations, it was still slow going in the holiday becoming "official".

1924 – Former president Calvin Coolidge recommended that Father’s Day becomes a national holiday, but no action was taken.

1966 – An executive order signed by former president Lyndon B. Johnson, stated that every third Sunday in June is designated as the official Father’s Day.

1972 – The holiday is officially recognized under the Nixon administration.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to spend Father’s Day with your dad or will be thinking of happy memories from the past, take a moment to reflect on the humble and love filled simple beginnings of the holiday.

1 Comment
Debi Friedman - Jun 18, 2017
I found this article so informative. I had no idea fathers had not been celebrated as mothers had been. Seems like I always celebrated Fathers Day for my dad. So for all the dads that didn't have fathers day before 1972, Happy Fathers Day for all the years before then.