Doug's Diggings: The ‘overlooked’ holiday — Father’s DayBefore I start, let it be known that my family has always treated Father’s Day as an important holiday, lavishing me with gifts and making the day truly special. I really have nothing to complain about, but sometimes I like to complain anyway!
Before I start, let it be known that my family has always treated Father’s Day as an important holiday, lavishing me with gifts and making the day truly special. I really have nothing to complain about, but sometimes I like to complain anyway!
That said, I’ve always envisioned Father’s Day as sort of the “overlooked” holiday. Let’s face it, Mother’s Day is the mother lode of spousal celebrations. I have my own theory as to why I think this way.
First and foremost, Mother’s Day occurs while school is still in session — the second Sunday in May. There is not an elementary classroom in the country that doesn’t undertake some sort of grand Mother’s Day project. All the kids proudly come home with a lovely plant, drawing or plaster hand display. It’s a project in which the kids are totally involved.
By the time Father’s Day rolls around, the kids are well into summer vacation. About the only outside stimulation is mom’s reminder that she will stop at the store to get a card and gift — the truly conscientious mom might drag the kids with!
Second, of course, is the fact that the media loves Mother’s Day. Great subjects with touching and emotional photos – it’s mom, the flag and apple pie rolled into one photo shoot.
With dad it’s a bit tougher to get that emotional story and photo — oh, they are out there, but generally dad is a bit more reserved when it comes to touchy, feely coverage.
Of course, many think that Father’s Day was the concoction of a greeting card company. That is not the case.
Mrs. John B. Dodd, of Washington, first proposed the idea of a “father’s day” in 1909. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran. He was widowed when his wife (Mrs. Dodd’s mother) died in childbirth with their sixth child. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state. It was after Dodd became an adult that she realized the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent.
The first Father’s Day was observed on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Wash.
At about the same time in various towns and cities across America other people were beginning to celebrate a “father’s day.”
In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day. In 1926, a National Father’s Day Committee was formed in New York City. Father’s Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson made Father’s Day a holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June and, in 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.
There are many other countries in which Father’s Day is observed. Most fall on the same day as in the United States, but in many countries it is observed on other dates. In Australia and New Zealand, for instance, Father’s Day is celebrated the first Sunday in September.
Interestingly enough, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day observance started at about the same time in American history. Mother’s Day was first observed in Philadelphia in 1907 — it is based on suggestions by Julia Ward Howe in 1872 and Anna Jarvis in 1907. Father’s Day started just a few years later.
Mother’s Day, however, became a national observance much sooner than Father’s Day. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson made the official announcement proclaiming Mother’s Day a national observance that was to be held each year on the second Sunday of May. For fathers the official paperwork wasn’t completed until 1972.
Of course, Father’s Day was observed for many years before that, but it didn’t have the official stamp of government approval.
There have been many famous quotes over the years that are cited on Father’s Day — some inspiring, some insightful, some funny.
My theory may be wrong; maybe Father’s Day is not the “overlooked” holiday. Right or wrong, however, Sunday is the day of the celebration. It doesn’t take much to make most dads feel special on that day — some burned toast, a kid’s smile or a card goes a long way!
Happy Father’s Day!