Soon Father’s Day will be upon us again. June 15, Dads will be fondly remembered and honored. So it is interesting to find out a little about this special day and how it originated.
Like many good ideas, Father’s Day is the result of one determined person. It just goes to show how one individual can make a difference and the resolve of just one person can start a national movement.
Father’s Day was started 100 years ago by a Spokane, Washington woman, Sonora Smart Dodd, to honor her Father, William Jackson Smart. When Sonora was 16 years old in 1898 her Mother died during childbirth. William Smart was left to raise Sonora and her five younger brothers alone. In those days it was not unusual for men to farm their children out to be raised by relatives when the wife died. However, William was determined to keep his family together.
William and his children lived on a remote farm in eastern Washington. It was a hard life, but William loved and nurtured his children. His example left a huge impression on his daughter Sonora. On Mother’s Day in 1909, while Sonora was listening to a sermon honoring Mothers, Sonora wondered why Fathers were not honored in a similar fashion.
Sonora conveyed her idea to area pastors to honor Fathers with a sermon on June 19, 1910. The mayor of Spokane and the governor of Washington issued Father’s Day proclamations. Sonora campaigned for a National Day to honor all Fathers. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge suggested states observe Father’s Day. Finally in 1972 President Richard Nixon delegated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.
Thanks to the love and determination of a daughter, Dads finally got their due. So this year as we celebrate Father’s Day, think of Sonora Smart Dodd and her father, William Jackson Smart. What a fine and lasting tribute to her Dad.