History of Father’s Day

Susan EspirituOur Town Neighbors

Father’s Day is celebrated as a national holiday on the third Sunday in June, this year on June 16, 2024.

Although Father’s Day has been celebrated in European Catholic countries on March 19 since the Middle Ages, it has only been a recognized holiday in our country since the early 1900s.

The first U.S. Father’s Day service was held on July 5, 1908, in West Virginia for the fathers killed in the Monogah Mine disaster.

Two years later, Sonora Smart Dodd is credited with founding the Father’s Day celebration we recognize today. Dodd said her inspiration was hearing a sermon about Mother’s Day. Having been raised by a single father as the only daughter of six children, she felt that fatherhood deserved equal recognition.

Dodd contacted the Spokane Ministerial Alliance requesting her own father’s birthday, June 5, be the special day to honor fathers, but the third Sunday in June was chosen instead.

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day and in 1972, President Richard M. Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day.

As with Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is written in singular possessive, specifically noting the intent is for each family to honor its own father not a plural possessive commemorating all fathers in the world.

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