"Grandchildren are the crown of old men;
and the glory of children are their fathers."
THE HISTORY OF
Father's Day, contrary to popular misconception, was not established as a holiday in order to help greeting card manufacturers sell more cards. In fact when a "father's day" was first proposed there were no Father's Day cards!
It is said that the first Father’s Day celebration was conceived in Spokane, Washington in 1909. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd (Mrs. John B. Dodd), the daughter of Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, proposed the idea to honor her father. William Smart, a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife (Mrs. Dodd's mother) died in childbirth with their sixth child in 1898. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state.
It was after Mrs. Dodd became an adult that she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent. The idea came to her while she was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon.
The first Father's Day was observed on June 19, 1910 in Spokane Washington. At about the same time in various towns and cities across American other people were beginning to celebrate a "father's day." By 1916 the idea has spread across the country. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father's Day but failed to get national recognition. In 1926, a National Father’s Day Committee was formed in New York.
In 1956, Father’s Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress and finally, in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day. It was not until 1972, with all of North America celebrating the unofficial day, that President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance.
So Father’s Day was born in memory and by a daughter who thought that her father and all good fathers should be honored with a special day just like we honor mothers on Mother’s Day.
Harry C. Meek is also given credit for founding the idea of Father’s Day. A President of a Chicago Lions Club, Meeks gave speeches to various groups about the need to honor fathers throughout the United States. In appreciation for his work, the Lions Club of America presented him with a gold watch, with the inscription, “Originator of Father’s Day,” on his birthday, June 20, 1920.
Today, Father’s Day is celebrated in a number of countries around the world, on different official dates. New Zealand celebrates Father’s Day on the First Sunday of September.
Father's Day has become a day to not only honor your father, but all men who act as a father figure. Stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, Godfathers, and adult male friends are all be honored on Father's Day.
The white or red rose is the official flower of Father’s Day. Wearing a white rose honors a father who is deceased and a red rose for a father who is living.
As Gabriel Garcia Marquez (b. 1928), a Columbia writer said, “A man knows when he is growing old because he begins to look like his father.”
When God Created Fathers
When the good Lord was creating fathers, He started with a tall frame. And a female angel nearby said, "What kind of father is that? If you’re going to make children so close to the ground, why have you put fathers up so high? He won’t be able to shoot marbles without kneeling, tuck a child in bed without bending, or even kiss a child without a lot of stooping."
And God smiled and said, "Yes, but if I make him child size, who would children have to look up to?"
And when God made a father’s hands, they were large and sinewy. And the angel shook her head sadly and said, "Do You know what You’re doing? Large hands are clumsy. They can’t manage diaper pins, small buttons, rubber bands on pony tails or even remove splinters caused by baseball bats."
God smiled and said, "I know, but they’re large enough to hold everything a small boy empties from his pockets at the end of a day…yet small enough to cup a child’s face."
Then God molded long, slim legs and broad shoulders. The angel nearly had a heart attack. "Boy, this is the end of the week, all right," she clucked. "Do You realize You just made a father without a lap? How is he going to pull a child close to him without the kid falling between his legs?"
God smiled and said, "A mother needs a lap. A father needs strong shoulders to pull a sled, balance a boy on a bicycle or hold a sleepy head on the way home from the circus."
God was in the middle of creating two of the largest feet anyone had ever seen when the angel could contain herself no longer. "That’s not fair. Do You honestly think those large boats are going to dig out of bed early in the morning when the baby cries? Or walk through a small birthday party without crushing at least three of the guests?"
And God smiled and said, "They’ll work. You’ll see. They’ll support a small child who wants to "ride a horse to Banbury Cross" or scare off mice at the summer cabin, or display shoes that will be a challenge to fill."
God worked throughout the night, giving the father few words, but a firm authoritative voice; eyes that see everything, but remain calm and tolerant.
Finally, almost as an afterthought, He added tears. Then He turned to the angel and said, "Now are you satisfied that he can love as much as a mother?"
And the angel shutteth up!
Written by Erma Bombeck
When I was:
Four years old: My daddy can do anything.
Five years old: My daddy knows a whole lot.
Six years old: My dad is smarter than your dad.
Eight years old: My dad doesn't know exactly everything.
Ten years old: In the olden days, when my dad grew up, things were sure different.
Twelve years old: Oh, well, naturally, Dad doesn't know anything about that. He is too old to remember his childhood.
Fourteen years old: Don't pay any attention to my dad. He is so old-fashioned.
Twenty-one years old: Him? My Lord, he's hopelessly out of date.
Twenty-five years old: Dad knows about it, but then he should, because he has been around so long.
Thirty years old: Maybe we should ask Dad what he thinks. After all, he's had a lot of experience.
Thirty-five years old: I'm not doing a single thing until I talk to Dad.
Forty years old: I wonder how Dad would have handled it. He was so wise.
Fifty years old: I'd give anything if Dad were here now so I could talk this over with him. Too bad I didn't appreciate how smart he was. I could have learned a lot from him.