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Father’s Day is now recognized on the third Sunday of June as a national holiday in the United States, but do you know how it came about?
It’s origins started on opposite sides of the country. In 1908, a church in West Virginia honored those fathers who had perished in the Monongah Mining Disaster, which left 1000s of children fatherless. In 1910, Sonora Smart Dodd, widely recognized as the woman who started Father’s Day as a tradition, introduced the day in Spokane to honor her father, who’d raised six children on his own.
Efforts to make it a national holiday were stymied, however, for several decades. Sponsored by merchants who would benefit from the gifts purchased for fathers, many newspapers decried it as a commercial holiday and Congress refused to recognize it.
However, in 1957, Senator Margaret Chase Smith accused Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers. A decade later, President Lyndon B. Johnson issues the first presidential proclamation for the holiday to be held on the third Sunday in June, but it was not until 1972 that Father’s Day became a national holiday.