MY POINT OF VIEW: Linking two holidays together, Father’s Day and Juneteenth; not a good idea

by Gary Kennedy

There is a new kid in town as of last year. I didn’t mention it as I originally thought it would just fade away. However, that isn’t going to happen as it has been around since 1910. I really had no idea. I have never even heard of it. For those in the know it is called Juneteenth Day. According to Psychiatric Times, June 19, which is also the founding date of Father’s Day, has become a dual holiday. The explanation that was given states, fathers are an integral part of families and Juneteenth is a day that families convene to celebrate the emancipation from slavery. They claim this is a hand in glove relationships (fathers and emancipation from slavery).

I for one really don’t understand the relationship but obviously the psychiatrists do. It seems to me if the fathers are part of the scenario then the mothers should be as well. For me the love of a father for his children, wife and as well as the love of the children and wife for the father and husband are as far away from the bloodiest war we have ever had, as is humanly possible. I must be missing something as the government believes it to be true or why else would they ask us to share our Fathers Day heritage with another historical event; an event which cost hundreds of thousands of lives; father against brother, brother against brother and even father against son. I just don’t see the relationship. Anyway, we are still as of now a free country and we can all believe what we want and accept or alienate these two events.

I will explain a little about Juneteenth and everyone can evaluate the likeness and difference between the two. Juneteenth is a day in 1865 that federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to ensure that all the “enslaved people” were free. This occurred 2-1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. It is ascertained to be logical to observe that date as the real emancipation of American slaves. Do you see the connection, yet? It seems to me if this relationship is true it should include men, women and even children. However, the only connection that is drawn by these so called pundits is with fathers. Many during slavery weren’t allowed the ability of procreation. Many slave women were for the pleasure of their masters. I’m sorry; I still don’t see how the powers that be were able to make this connection. I, in no way, mean to demean the happening which occurred in Galveston, Texas. The war was over by 1864 and that should have been the end of it but unfortunately the need for federal troops to go to Galveston, Texas, was necessary to once and for all free the people still enslaved there.

Although President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in 1864 there remained 250,000 slaves in Texas. Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay on June 19 and freed the remaining slaves by executive decree. This became known as “Freedom Day”. To me that sounds somewhat appropriate and a better definition of the happening. I would agree with the appropriateness of calling this holiday, Freedom Day. That being said I, for one, must recuse myself from the sharing of Father’s Day with an event laced in the overtones of war. The Emancipation Proclamation has another place in history and should be observed by itself. (My opinion only.)

Father’s Day on the other hand began with Sonora Smart Dodd, of Spokane, Washington, where it is said she heard a sermon in 1909 about Mother’s Day, thus it brought the question what about fathers? Father’s Day began on June 19, 1910. This was the month of Ms. Dodd’s father’s birthday; thus the date of Father’s Day.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge gave his support to the holiday and in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation that recognized the day. It became a national holiday in 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed legislation designating the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. Father’s Day is based on our adoration of one’s father and respect for the guidance and sacrifice he has given the family unit. A great father is complemented by a great family. So, those of us who are fortunate enough to have a wonderful dad show our love and respect publicly once a year on June 19. Although, for most of us the love is a daily event. However, it’s great to set a special day aside just for him as we do for our mothers at another time. This display of love and affection is carried for all time. For me Juneteenth is well worth remembering and was a great and wonderful wakening for mankind. It is a great history lesson. However, for me the only relationship it has to Father’s Day is the same as we all realize, the love and respect of our father, irrespective of his race, color or creed, every language has a translation for “Dad”.

God Bless and have a wonderful Father’s Day. Always remember our veterans and those who didn’t return home to be celebrated by those who loved him. We will always remember Dad.

The views of the author of this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.


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