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Remember Dodd on Sunday

Series: Staff Column | Story 1

The origin of Father's Day can be traced back to the early 20th Century in the U.S. The credit for its establishment is often given to Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane.

The story goes that in 1909, Dodd's father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran, raised Dodd and her siblings single-handedly after their mother passed away during childbirth. Dodd wanted to honor her father for his selfless devotion and sacrifices in raising his children.

Inspired by the newly established Mother's Day, Dodd campaigned for a day to honor fathers. She approached local churches, government officials, and community organizations seeking support for her idea.

Dodd originally wanted it on her father's birthday on June 5, but they didn't have enough time to organize it that soon. She kept working with the Young Men's Christian Association of Spokane and Spokane Ministerial Alliance, which embraced the ideal.

Finally, her efforts paid off, and the first Father's Day celebration took place June 19, 1910, at the YMCA of Spokane.

However, Father's Day didn't gain widespread recognition, initially.

It wasn't until President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers in 1966, designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day, that it became an official holiday.

Later, in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed it into law, making it permanent national holiday.

Since them, Father's Day has become a day to celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in society.

It's observed in various countries around the world, albeit on different dates, and it typically marked by spending time with fathers, giving them gifts, or simply expressing gratitude for their role in our lives.

This Fathers Day, remember Sonora Dodd and her father, William Smart, as many of us celebrate Father's Day.

We wouldn't have one, if it were not for her.

- Allan Gainer is a journalist at the Free Press Publishing. Email him at [email protected].


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