The concept of Father’s Day was started 100 years ago by Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington. The day is set aside to honor fathers, of all ages.
Mom has her one day of the year. And kids – well they get their day every day of the year. And now it’s dad’s turn. He’s the “man of the house,” the guy you go to when you need support or manly advice and let’s not forget he’s the one that you can pass the football with just about anytime.
Ironically Sonora Dodd was sitting in a Sunday church service listening to a sermon about the then recently appointed Mother’s Day. Dodd felt that fatherhood should be recognized as well. She was the proud daughter of William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran, who was left to raise his six children, on a farm.
While Sonora wanted the day to be at the beginning of June, the Mayor of Spokane proclaimed the first observance on June 19th, 1910. The compromise was acceptable to Dodd because June was the month her father was born in.
The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the 3rd Sunday in June as Father’s Day. The day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.
According to data from the Census Bureau, in 2009 there were an estimated 67.8 million fathers across the nation. And if you’re looking for a place to do your last minute shopping for dear old dad, you currently have a choice of nearly 8,000 men’s clothing stores, 14,000 hardware stores and 23,000 sporting good stores to shop at nationwide.
The weather forecast for Father’s Day 2010 is looking quite pleasant thus affording the perfect opportunity to get out the grill and barbecue. Last year alone, 76 million people surveyed had participated in a cook-out and it’s safe to presume many of those barbecues took place on Father’s Day.
Whether your in Milwaukee or wherever you are, on the planet, if you have the opportunity to be with your Father on his day, please do so. If that is not a possibility, take a brief moment to recognize your father anyway.
While this journalist rarely gives personal commentary, within the confines of an article, I’ll take this opportunity to honor my father, Robert. William Shakespeare once wrote, “It is a wise father that knows his child.”
Dad used to say to me, in his own, special way, “Son, don’t you ever tell me there isn’t anything you can’t do in life.” To that, Dad, I reply, “The only thing I’ll never be able to do is thank you enough for being my dad.” Happy Father’s Day to all!
The Victoria Advocate, MSNBC and The Spokane Regional contributed to this article.