History of Father's Day

Inspired by a sermon on Mother's Day, Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington first proposed in 1909 the idea of a father's day.

Her mother had died, and she and her siblings were raised by their father.

William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran, showed great strength and selflessness in raising his children alone after being widowed when his wife died in childbirth with their sixth child.

Because William had been born in June, Sonora wanted the holiday celebrated during that month.

Although first observed on June 19, 1910, it was not until 1924 that then President Coolidge pushed for making Father's Day a national holiday.

The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.

Still, it was not until 1972 that Father's Day became a national holiday when President Nixon signed the observance of the third Sunday in June into law. It is now a permanent celebration in the United States.

Just as Mother's Day honors not only mothers but also mother figures, so too does Father's Day honor all men who act as father figures.

Stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, and adult male friends are all honored on Father's Day.

Historical Census Facts About Dad

* Estimated number of fathers across the nation: 64.3 million

* Estimated number of married fathers: 25.8 million

* Estimated number of single fathers: 1.8 million

* Estimated number of stay-at-home dads in 2008: 140,000

* Percentages of children younger than 6 who ate breakfast and dinner, respectively, with their father every day: 53% and 71%

* Percentage of children younger than 6 who had 15 or more outings with their father in the last month: 36%

* Average times children ages 3 to 5 were read to by their fathers in the past week: 6

* Percentage of children younger than 6 who were praised three or more times a day by their fathers: 66%

USA.gov - Father's Day
Census.gov - Father's Day

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