Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Post

Because I’m a humble Canadian and I feel uncomfortable telling all of you what a great Father I am and how I (we) raised our kids perfectly and everything I thought it would be best to give you a little history lesson here regarding how the celebration of Father’s Day got its start instead of breaking my arm patting myself on the back, if you know what I mean.


The first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19th, 1910 in Spokane, Washington. The idea of Father’s Day occurred to Sonora Louise Smart while she was listening to a sermon about the newly recognized Mother’s Day that Anna Jarvis had been instrumental in starting in 1908.

Sonora Louise Smart was born in Jenny Lind, Arkansas, in 1882 to farmer William Jackson Smart (1842-1919) and his wife Ellen Victoria Cheek Smart (1851-1898). William Smart fought for the Union Army during the American Civil War and in 1887 the Smart family moved West and settled near Spokane, Washington.

When Sonora was 16, her mother died in childbirth with her sixth child. Sonora was the only daughter and shared with her father William in the raising of her younger brothers, including her new infant brother Marshall.

Sonora Smart held her father in great esteem. While hearing the church sermon about the newly recognized Mother's Day, Sonora felt strongly that Fatherhood needed recognition as well. She approached the Spokane Ministerial Alliance and suggested her own father's birthday, of June 5, as the day of honour for fathers. The Alliance chose June 19th, 1910, the third Sunday in June, as the first official celebration of Father’s Day.

The idea of Father's Day became popular and embraced across the nation and later around the world. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson came to Spokane and spoke at Father's Day services. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father's Day. In 1972, President Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the 3rd Sunday of June each year.

Sonora Smart Dodd was honored at the World's Fair in Spokane, Washington in 1974. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd died in 1978 at the age of ninety-six.

My research is unclear as to when Father’s Day was first observed in Canada but all indications are that it was very soon after the first celebration in Spokane in 1910.

I also found in my research that people usually wear roses to express gratitude for their father. Traditionally, if the person is wearing a red rose, it symbolizes the person’s father is alive. Likewise, a white rose means that the person’s father has passed.

Here’s wishing everyone a very happy Father’s Day and I will share more than one quotation with you this week.

“A father is a guy who has snapshots in his wallet where his money used to be,”- Author Unknown.

“Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a Dad,”-Anne Geddes.

“My Father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it,”-Abraham Lincoln.

"My father died many years ago, and yet when something special happens to me, I talk to him secretly not really knowing whether he hears, but it makes me feel better to half believe it."-Natasha Josefowitz.

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