Father's Day Almost Wasn't!

Jun 04, 2014

Father’s Day - June 15th 2014

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Below we have compiled the most interesting account of how Father’s Day almost wasn’t.  Did you know that it took 56 years to get Father’s day from concept to completion?  Mother’s Day had reigned supreme for decades but when Father’s Day was presented, it literally took an act of Congress and several American Presidents to pass the National Holiday.  Which of our Presidents do think signed the proclamation into law?

I must admit …as I was doing the research regarding the origin of Father’s Day, I as a father began to recall of all my own  Father’s day celebrations.  They usually include inviting friends and family over for a cookout, why not June is a wonderful time of the year for gatherings.  Then I began to think of the lead up to any cookout or gathering. (1) mow the grass, (2) go shopping, (3)prep the food, (4) ice the beverages, (5) clean the house…the list goes on and on and on… does this sound familiar to you? Let’s not forget the clean-up afterwards. Suddenly I feel like just skipping the whole thing!  

WHAT IS A DAD?

A dad is nothing more than a big kid; you know what we love to do?  Not more work, that is for sure.  A dad love to play and have fun. Want to get me the perfect gift, get me out into the Great Smoky Mountains, let’s go hiking, and let’s go fishing or White Water Rafting.  Let’s do manly fun things. A Cabin in Gatlinburg, a Grill, and my family sharing a good meal and some laughs, that is what we are in search of.  I let you in on a little secret, men are emotional and have feelings, we love to create special memories too. However if you tie extra work to this event… it ruins the fun.  If you truly want to make men feel special put a fishing pole in his hand let him breathe that fresh Smoky Mountain air and hold his hand as you walk quietly down a trail.  Yeah, I know we are pretty simple creatures but that is why you love us. 

Now Back to How Father’s Day Almost Wasn’t!!!!

The credit for the modern holiday "Father's Day" is often given to Sonora Dodd, who was the driving force behind its establishment. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, whose wife passed away and was left a single parent, to raise Sonora and his five other children.

  • Father's Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas.  
  • Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910. It did not have much success initially.
  • In the 1930s Dodd returned to Spokane and started promoting the celebration again, raising awareness at a national level. She had the help of those trade groups that would benefit most from the holiday, for example the manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes, and any traditional present to fathers.
  • (Interesting Side Note) Americans resisted the holiday during a few decades, perceiving it as just an attempt by merchants to replicate the commercial success of Mother's Day, and newspapers frequently featured cynical and sarcastic attacks and jokes. But the trade groups did not give up: they kept promoting it and even incorporated the jokes into their adverts, and they eventually succeeded. By the mid-1980s the Father's Council wrote that "(...) [Father's Day] has become a Second Christmas for all the men's gift-oriented industries."
  • A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father's Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized.
  • US President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation. Two earlier attempts to formally recognize the holiday had been defeated by Congress.
  • In 1957, Maine Senator 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.

I love history; especially when it has a happy ending, don’t you agree? 

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Category: Gatlinburg

Doug Shanks

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By Doug Shanks a Google Local Guide Smoky Mountain blogger and writes about things to do in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Wears Valley, and Sevierville, Tennessee. Area interests include hiking, fishing, whitewater rafting, shopping, and family fun.


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