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Father's Day Origins and Inspiration

While mothers have had their special day since 1914, fathers have only recently officially received the recognition they so richly deserve. After all, dad is the pillar of the family unit, the one who made us feel safe, loved to tickle and tease, and above all gave us a sense of security. While mom was the pillow to fall on, dad was the rock who held us up. Here are some thoughts and facts on Fatherís Day, dedicated to every man out there who proudly wears the name DAD.


In 1909, listening to a sermon on Motherís Day, Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd felt inspired by Anna Jarvisís efforts and felt there should also be a Fatherís Day. Her father, Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, had as a single parent raised his six children in Spokane, Washington after his wifeís death. She initially suggested June 5th, the anniversary of her fatherís death, however, she did not provide the organizers with enough time to make arrangements, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday in June. Unofficial support from such figures as William Jennings Bryan was immediate and widespread. Calvin Coolidge recommended it as a national holiday in 1924 but the all-male U.S. Congress was mindful that passing a measure so favorable to males could be seen as a conflict of interest. In 1926, The National Father's Day Committee met for the first time in New York City. Lyndon Johnson made Father's Day a holiday in 1966, but the holiday was not officially recognized until the presidency of Richard Nixon in 1972 when he signed into law a permanent U.S. Father's Day to be observed on the third Sunday of June.

Inspiring Words

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years. - Mark Twain

Iím sure we all remember our teenage years and how true and insightful this statement by Mark Twain is. Here is another of my favorites:

It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was. - Anne Sexton

What is a dad? Iím sure not everyone would answer exactly the same way but this poem by an unknown author seems to sum it up very well.

What Makes A Dad?

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,

Then God combined these qualities,
And then there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it - Dad.

Perhaps the most important thing a father can give us is love. Hold on to your memories of youth. Those things that your father did that made you feel so special and loved. My favorite memory is of my father coming into my room one night when I was crying. He was so concerned even though to him, my problem must have seemed insignificant. By the time he left, I was happy, and the world was a brighter place. Many of us have these kinds of memories.

Dance With My Father
(Excerpt from the song - Artist: Luther Vandross)

Back when I was a child, before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high and dance with my mother and me and then
Spin me around 'til I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure I was loved
If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him
I'd play a song that would never, ever end
How I'd love, love, love
To dance with my father again.

Be sure to let your father know how much he is loved and appreciated this Fatherís Day.

sources & Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia 1997
© Patricia Fason

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