MY POINT OF VIEW: A day to honor all fathers

by Gary Kennedy

In the year 1966 President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first Presidential Proclamation honoring Fathers Day and designated the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. The Bible gives us an intimate view of the relationship between Christ, the Son, and God the father. (Yahweh, Jehovah) Jesus, by example, showed the relationship between himself and his father. We all know what that relationship was/is. The love and respect was like no other. However, this example gave us something to strive for. Although we could never achieve the love and respect that emanated from this relationship but the example was easy to see and to reach for. It’s an example that will live in our hearts forever.

Father’s Day goes back to the middle ages. It actually began as a Catholic holiday, which was a celebration of fatherhood. This celebration goes back to the Catholic churches celebration of the feast of St. Joseph. Father’s Day has been observed for hundreds of years but was not celebrated in the USA until the 20th century and that was most likely because of Mothers Day.

A young lady by the name of Anne Jarvis began lobbying in the very early 1900s. She did this primarily because she felt it was unfair to have a Mothers Day while overlooking ones father who was an important parent as well. He played an extremely important role in the family.

A point of interest would be that both of these holidays had their official celebrations in West Virginia. Mothers Day was first celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia, and the first Father’s Day took place in Fairmont, West Virginia, on the 5th of July 1908. An important point brought father’s to the front by a mining disaster. The “Mononagh Mining Disaster”, which inspired Father’s Day, took the lives of 361 miners of which 250 were fathers. A woman named Grace Golden Clayton lost her father that day. It was taken very hard by this young lady. She spoke with her minister and asked if a special service could be held to honor all the fathers that lost their lives that day. Unfortunately, the first Father’s Day ceremony didn’t lead to the Father’s Day holiday. The reasons were the town was celebrating its Independence Day festival and the event was not advertised outside of the town. Communication in these times was very limited.

Three years later (1911), after the Fairmont tragedy, a Chicago social activist, Jane Addams sought recognition of Father’s Day but her attempt at this holiday failed as well.

The reality of Father’s Day eventually was founded by Sonora Smart Dodd on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington. Sonora Dodd’s father was William Jackson Smart who raised six children and also fought in the Civil War. He was a single parent.

In 1972 President Richard Nixon signed into law a permanent recognition of Father’s Day. From this point on Father’s Day was a holiday which showed reverence to the father of the family. He would now be held at an even level with his significant other. It became as it should be, love and respect for one’s father. According to Hallmark, the premier in card production, the Father’s Day card sending even reached 72 million. In 2020 card sales exceeded $17 billion. That is one super sales event.

Long story short is Father’s Day, as with Mother’s Day, is about love and respect for ones parents. Parents spend their lives working and saving to afford us a better life. It seems with the birth of a child the purpose in life is no longer that new gun, fishing pole, vacation, cottage on the lake and other fanciful things that dreams are made of. With the advent of a new addition to the home the entire outlook gets turned off and a new game plan begins.

The new game plan is centered on the baby. Now father will take on more work, become very frugal and buy that life insurance policy, begin the educational plan for the entity he knows will be a genius. This takes many years, and loving sacrifices. Before he knows it, time has left him with gray hair and a wrinkled face. However, he probably has accomplished his goal. The child has reaped the benefit of a father’s hard work and love. All this was done with a loving heart. So this is a father that deserved to be celebrated at least once a year, don’t you agree? Happy Father’s Day Dad and God bless you.


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