In 1909, Sonora Louise Smart Dodd was sitting in church listening to a sermon on Mother’s Day. The 27-year-old started to think about her father. Her mother had died when Sonora was 16, and her father, a Civil War veteran named William Smart, had brought up his six children alone. As she sat there, the idea for a formal celebration of fathers began to form.
Sonora worked hard to try to make her idea a reality. Her father was born in June, thus, on June 19, 1910, Sonora’s hometown of Spokane, Washington, celebrated its first Father’s Day with the support of the Spokane Ministerial Association and the local Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). Members of the YMCA went to church wearing roses to pay tribute to their fathers.
Father’s Day did not enjoy instant support. Both President Woodrow Wilson and President Calvin Coolidge supported the holiday, but Congress resisted. Father’s Day was finally recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956, and in 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.
The celebration of Father’s Day remains very popular. Throughout the country, it gives us the opportunity to pay tribute to the hard work and sacrifices of our fathers — those who have set an example of what it means to truly be there for their family, willing to offer their support and wisdom. Fathers are the ones who show us what it is to be a good dad, a good leader and a good person. They are our own personal heroes.
This Father’s Day, I hope you will join me in taking time to celebrate and honor the men in your life who have made a difference.
As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.