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The History of Father's Day

Posted on: 06/18/2017 00:00

The first known celebration of Father’s Day was on July 5, 1908 in Fairmont, West Virginia, where it was commemorated at William Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South – now known as Central United Methodist Church. Grace Golden Clayton is believed to have suggested it to her pastor after a deadly explosion in nearby Monongah in December, killing 361 men according to the History.com website.  

It was also during a sermon in 1909 that Sonora Smart Dodd became inspired by Mother’s Day. After the death of her mother, Sonora and her siblings were raised by their father William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran. Sonora wanted to show how thankful she was to her father and, because William was born in June, she worked to have the first Father’s Day celebrated on June 19, 1910.

In 1924, President Coolidge recommended that Father’s Day become a national holiday.

President Johnson designated the third Sunday of June to be Father’s Day in 1966.

It was not until 1972 that President Nixon instituted Father’s Day as a national observance.

Did You Know – Roses are the official flower on Father’s Day, red for fathers who were still living and white for those who have passed on.


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