Father's Day is a day of celebrating our fathers and their influence on our lives. We have picnics, or go to restaurants, or cook Dad's favorite meal. This is the day to say thank you for all the times he was there for us in our lives. We may show our appreciation with gifts and maybe if the Dad is lucky he will be showered with promises of "I'll mow the lawn for you all month, Dad." Or "I'll wash the car and fill it with gas every time I borrow it this summer."
How did this Wonderful Day start?
Unfortunately, not on a happy occasion.
On a cold day in December 1907 in West Virginia, 362 men died in an explosion at the Fairmont Coal Company Mine. This was, needless to say, devastation to over 300 families. They lost a loved one and the major breadwinner. Sorrow and poverty were felt by all in the community.
On July 5, 1908, the local church sponsored the nation's first event to honor fathers in memory of the men who died.
The next year Sonora Smart Dodd in Spokane Washington tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother's Day for fathers. She was one of six children raised by a widower. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers, and government officials. Father's Day was celebrated in Washington State on June 19, 1910. The holiday spread and in 1916 President Wilson used a telegraph signal to unfurl a flag in Spokane while he was in Washington D.C. President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father's Day. Today, the special day of honor is on the third Sunday of June.
So, a day of tragedy turned into a day of celebration as we remember what all our fathers do for us while we still have them with us.
In Europe and Latin America fathers are honored on St. Joseph's Day, a traditional Catholic holiday that falls on March 19.
Can anyone forget Mark Twain's contribution by writing "Father's Education"?
'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."