Sonora Smart Dodd was the only daughter of widower, William who was left with 6 young children after his wife died in childbirth with their 5th son. William Smart had been a Sergeant in the Union’s First Arkansas Light Artillery during the Civil War.
Smart held her father in great esteem. While hearing a church sermon about the newly recognized Mother’s Day at Central Methodist Episcopal Church, Sonora felt strongly that fatherhood needed recognition as well. She approached the Spokane Ministerial Alliance and suggested her own father’s birthday, of June 5, as the day of honor for fathers. The Alliance chose the third Sunday in June instead.
The first Father’s Day was celebrated June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson sent a telegraph to Spokane praising Father’s Day services. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a Presidential Proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. In 1972, President Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the 3rd Sunday of June each year.
I remember, as an “Army Brat”, my own father coming home from many field exercises and deployments. I couldn’t wait to fumble through his bags to find any left over sea rations and chem-lights…. the smell of old army blankets brought a strange sense of comfort to a young child…. each move around the world and back helped to develop a keen sense of adventure that led to an incredible imagination and insatiable curiosity about the world and everything in it. I consider myself fortunate to have had a Soldier for a Father…..
Today we recognize the Fathers in our lives, whether they are the ones who have a biological tie to us, or the ones who choose to stand in the boots anyway….. here’s to the men who stand tall ~ even when they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders!