A tribute to dads on Father’s Day

Published 3:33 pm Friday, June 17, 2022

Today is Father’s Day — a special holiday for a significant part of our nation’s population. As of the last U.S. census there were 72 million fathers in the United States.
Father’s Day has been a national holiday in the U.S. since the early 1970s, but the idea of devoting a day to honoring dads has been around for many years, and in some cultures, even centuries.
In the U.S., it took much longer for the holiday honoring the dads in our lives to catch on than the one honoring moms. Although a day dedicated to celebrating the nation’s mothers caught on relatively quickly in the early 20th century, giving Mother’s Day — and all the greeting card and bouquet purchases that came with it — a quick path to being named a national holiday, Father’s Day did not spark the same enthusiasm.
Technically, a day dedicated to honoring fathers in the U.S. was first observed in 1908, the same year the first Mother’s Day celebration was held in Philadelphia. In July 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the first event meant to honor American fathers. Tragically, it was a sermon held in the memory of 362 men who had died in an explosion at the Fairmont Coal Company mines months earlier.
The next year, Sonora Smart Dodd from Spokane, Wash., moved to make Father’s Day a special day, equivalent to the Mother’s Day celebrations that had been occurring across the nation. Dodd was one of six children raised by William Jackson Smart, a widower and Civil War veteran, and she wished for the opportunity to honor her father. She was able to spark enough enthusiasm that Washington State held the nation’s first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.
While President Calvin Coolidge supported the holiday in 1924, support ebbed and flowed ‌over the next few decades. President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation recognizing Father’s Day in 1966, and in 1972, President Richard Nixon officially made Father’s Day a U.S. national holiday.
Today, Father’s Day is a major U.S. holiday, celebrated on the third Sunday in June every year. The National Retail Federation reports that the average American will spend $148.58 this Father’s Day and that total spending nationwide will exceed $17 billion in 2020. Nearly half of all people surveyed indicated that they plan to give clothing as a Father’s Day gift.
However, the real impact of Father’s Day goes beyond greeting cards, neck ties and golf shirts. It’s about celebrating the enduring legacy of fathers and the power they have to shape the lives of their sons and daughters.
Former President Barak Obama In a speech he made on Father’s Day in 2008 (while still a candidate), said “too many fathers are missing — missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.”
The importance of fathers is now undeniable. And currently, 24 million American children — 34 percent — don’t live with their biological father, according to data from the most recent U.S. Census. That’s not to say stepfathers and grandfathers and uncles don’t step in and do it well; but there’s a unique role a father plays in a child’s life.
“We know the statistics,” Obama said. “Children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of school and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves.”He spoke of his own absent father, who left when Obama was 2.
“So I resolved many years ago that it was my obligation to break the cycle — that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father to my girls,” Obama said.
Being a parent is one of life’s toughest jobs. On this day, we recognize all the fathers who care about their children and inspire them to reach their fullest potential.
Happy Father’s Day to the dads who serve as strong role models, who take the time to invest in their kids. Kudos to all the fathers who understand the importance of “paying it forward” and spending quality time with children. Their legacy lives on today and throughout the year in the hearts and minds of everyone who loves them.
Father’s Day is an appropriate time to celebrate both the role and the man.
P.S. The tie is not obligatory. Most dads would simply like a hug and visit from their children.

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