The nation’s first Father’s Day was celebrated in 1910 in a single state. But it wasn’t until 1972 that the day honoring fathers went national.
Here’s the back story.
During the 1860s, at the urging of activist Ann Reeves Jarvis, one divided West Virginia town celebrated “Mother’s Work Days” to bring together the mothers of Confederate and Union soldiers. In 1908 Jarvis’s daughter took steps to make Mother’s Day a national holiday. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made it official.
In 1909 a Spokane, Washington, woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for fathers. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials, and was ultimately successful in her home state in 1910.
As one historian writes, many men “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products–often paid for by the father himself.”
During the 1920s and 1930s, a movement arose to combine Mother’s Day and Father’s Day into a single Parents’ Day celebration. The Great Depression derailed this effort, but it had a revival during World War II to honor American troops.
Finally, in the middle of the hard-fought 1972 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday – 56 years after Mother’s Day was official.
Today, the day honoring fathers is celebrated in the United States on the third Sunday of June. In other countries, especially in Europe and Latin America, fathers are honored on St. Joseph’s Day, March 19.
Happy Father’s Day from your Friends at Crystal Creek Builders
Adapted from History.com
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