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Fathe’s Day slow to catch on

Father’s Day is celebrated in the United States on the third Sunday in June. It was created to complement Mother’s Day.

Father’s Day was founded in Spokane, Washington, at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there. Dodd originally suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, the her church pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.

It did not have much success initially. In the 1930s Dodd got help with promoting the day from trade groups that would benefit from the celebration. It was the mid 1980s before Father’s Day had become a “second Christmas” for men.

Attempts to win national recognition for the holiday failed in Congress until 1957 when Maine Sen. Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus singling out just one of our two parents.

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.

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