Remembering Father’s Day
This Sunday marks that special days designated to fathers. Whether it be a card in the mail, breakfast in bed or, like many, a visit to the cemetery, don’t let the day pass without remembering and honoring the fathers.
I found it interesting to learn that, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day has potential beginnings in the Mountaineer state.
According to research, after Anna Jarvis’ successful promotion of Mother’s Day in Grafton, West Virginia, the first observance of a “Father’s Day” was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia, in the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church.
Grace Golden Clayton was mourning the loss of her father when, on December 1907, the Monongah Mining Disaster in nearby Monongah killed 361 men, 250 of them fathers, leaving around a thousand fatherless children. Clayton suggested her pastor Robert Thomas Webb to honor all those fathers.
This celebration failed to receive recognition outside of Fairmont and it wasn’t until Sonora Smart Dodd promoted the idea in 1910 in Spokane, Washington and later in the 1930s when she had help from the Fathers Day Council, founded by the New York Associated Men’s Wear Retailers to consolidate and systematize the commercial promotion.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized. President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation.
In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.
We wish all a happy Father’s Day!