About Father's Day: The Origin, History, and Story
The First Celebration
During a Mother's Day celebration at her local church in 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd from Spokane, Washington thought of an idea. She decided that a special day should take place to celebrate fathers, since her own played a large roll in her upbringing.
Her father, William Smart, was a Civil War veteran whose wife died when Sonora was just 16 years-old. He was given the task of raising Sonora along with her five siblings by himself.
On June 19, 1910, Sonora arranged a tribute to fathers in Spokane. She enlisted the help of the Spokane Ministerial association and members of the YMCA to wear roses while attending church: a red rose to honor a living father and a white rose to honor a deceased one. The same day, she traveled throughout the city in a closed carriage to deliver gifts to fathers. Dodd was the first to solicit the idea of having an official Father's Day.
The Story of the Holiday's Passage
A bill to make the holiday official was introduced in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson made a trip to Spokane to speak in the Father's Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted with fears of its potential of becoming commercialized.
President Calvin Coolidge recommended the holiday should be celebrated in 1924. During the 1930s, a national committee was created to legitimize the holiday. This caused for two more bills to be written, but both failed.
In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing congress of ignoring fathers while honoring mothers.
President Lyndon Johnson made a proclamation for celebrating Father's Day on the third Sunday of June in 1966, but it wasn't made an official holiday until 1972 when President Nixon made a proclamation.