The history of Father's Day - - Columbia, South Carolina

The history of Father's Day

© Amanda Mills / CDC © Amanda Mills / CDC

Would you believe that Father's Day was the brainchild of a woman?

So thankful to her father was Mrs. John B. Dodd, born Sonora Smart, of Spokane, Washington, that she pushed for an annual Father's Day Observance in 1909.  Her own father was a civil war veteran and was widowed when his wife died in childbirth.  He was left with six children to raise. 

Mrs. Dodd began circulating petitions and within a year, the city of Spokane agreed to honor Fathers on the 3rd Sunday in June, close to her father's birthday.  Meanwhile, cities and towns all across America began to celebrate Father's Day.  The idea became so popular that others joined in her crusade.  Harry C. Meek even began to travel the country speaking and campaigning on behalf of a nationally recognized Father's Day.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge backed the idea of a national Father's Day and in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson declared Father's Day a national holiday. It was signed into the books in 1972 by President Richard Nixon.

Mrs. Dodd even designated a flower for Father's Day: the rose.  Red roses are given for a living father and white ones are for remembrance if he has passed away.

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