The Women Behind Father’s Day

Between the two special holidays commemorating the members of the family, it was father’s day that had a hard time being established. Ironic, too, as Mother’s day was already in vogue and proclaimed by US President Woodrow Wilson when any sign of establishing a so-called father’s day was put into motion. More ironic too, was the very notion of establishing a national day for commemorating fathers is ridiculed by most despite the United States being a primarily paternal society.

So why was America so late at proclaiming a father’s day? Why was the concept almost ridiculed by everyone, and what changed people’s minds?  



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A Commemoration of a Tragedy

 The year was 1907. The place was Monongah, West Virginia. On that fateful day, a mining disaster killed 361 men, and among them, 250 were fathers. One of those children left bereft of a father that day was a woman named Grace Golden Clayton. She did not know it at that time, but she would go on and create the first ripples of what will be known as Father’s day across the world. 

Grace was so affected by the loss of her father that she approached the local pastor to offer a commemoration mass for all the lost miners the following year. For the exact date, Miss Clayton chose July 1908 because she said it was near her father’s birthday. Although the event was just local, there and then, the first mass for father’s day became real.

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Inspired by a Mother’s Day Sermon

 One year after that mass, A lady by the name of Sonora Louise Smart Dodd from Spokane, Washington, was listening to a mother’s day sermon when she got the idea of creating a father’s day, somehow a male equivalent of the already popular Mother’s Day. For a few years, all her complex works were unsuccessful. Any efforts she tried resulted were met with disinterest or mockery. “It’s too similar to Mother’s Day,” they said, “I’d rather have a national fishing day,” remarked another. Even capitalism was against making a father’s day thinking that “fathers were too sentimental to buy themselves father’s day items.” 

One firm supporter of the day was US President Woodrow Wilson (who made Mother’s Day official). In June of 1916, he celebrated the day in the Oval Office by opening the church service that day through telephone. The idea of a father’s day struck him as positive, and he arranged for it to be also a national holiday.

This time, however, it was his Congress that resisted his favor. Congress thought at that time that creating a father’s day would affect mother’s day and take away support from the said holiday. They also believed that the commercialization of the holiday would do more harm than good to the commemoration. Undeterred, Miss Dodd continued to advocate for the creation of a father’s day. She was met with more hurdles over the years. The only “success” being President Calvin Coolidge urging the states to observe the day nationwide but without an official proclamation. 

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The Memo that Changed Everything

 Throughout the years, the matter stayed in Congress in another stalemate. However, it was another woman that took up the reins and changed the landscape. In a harsh memo, United States Senator for Maine, Margaret Chase Smith penned: “Either we honor both our parents, mother and father, or let us desist from honoring either one. But to single out just one of our two parents and omit the other is the most grievous insult imaginable.” 

It seemed the memo worked, too, as President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Executive Order 1966 in which Father’s Day was recognized as a holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June, more than fifty years after Miss Dodd’s initial efforts. President Richard M. Nixon, to help his re-election campaign, cemented everything in place when he signed an official proclamation making Father’s Day permanently on the third Sunday in June Nationwide.

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Gift Ideas for Father’s Day

 The best gift you could give your father this father’s day is to spend time with them. Do activities that are special to father-son or father-daughter. Maybe take a hint at those against Father’s day, and take him fishing. Grilling and cooking up a barbecue is also an excellent idea to celebrate father’s day with the whole family. Another good activity to do is go to a concert with your dad by his favorite band. Even better, organize a concert for your dad, especially if he is the musical type.

Then top the day off with a gift from You can get many gift ideas ranging from novelty and funny coffee mugs to pendants and necklaces to show your relationship with your father. For a father-daughter gift, the Eternal Hope Necklace in USA is among the cream of the crop. This timeless and elegant gift made from cubic zirconia sparkles like a star in the sky, symbolizing that lovely father-daughter relationship in the best possible way. 


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