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In the United States, the third Sunday is annually celebrated as Fathers Day. Although it has been highly commercialized with gifts of corny ties and coffee mugs, this holiday is worthy of greater consideration.

The original meaning of Fathers Day was to take time to reflect on the many qualities that our fathers have shown us through example. This holiday is meant to be a time of honoring and showing our gratitude to the men who has helped to raise and provide for their children.

There are two versions on how Fathers Day originated. One version is that, inspired by her own parent, Sonora Smart Dodd made a proposal to the political leaders of Washington State to set aside a holiday to honor fathers.

The first Fathers Day was celebrated on June 19th, 1910, the anniversary of Mr. Dodd’s death. Sonora’s father was a very special man. When his wife died delivering their sixth child, Mr. Dodd took on the total responsibility of raising all six of his children. In appreciation of how hard her father had worked to care for her family, Sonora felt there should be a special day set aside to pay homage to all fathers. In Spokane, Washington, the third Sunday in June became the official day for the day of respect to all fathers.

The other version of the origin of Fathers Day is that Grace Golden Clayton from Fairmont, West Virginia suggested it to her pastor. After a horrible mine explosion that killed 361 miners, this young woman spoke with her minister about holding special church services to annually celebrate all fathers.

At first, this special day was only celebrated in assorted communities. The idea of it becoming a national holiday gained momentum when William Jennings Bryant became a major supporter. President Calvin agreed that Fathers Day should become a national holiday, but it was not put into legislation at that time.

President Lyndon B. Johnson designated through an executive order that the third Sunday in June would be the official Fathers Day. It wasn’t until 1972, however, during the Nixon administration that Fathers Day became officially recognized as a national holiday.

This Fathers Day, consider taking the opportunity to write your father a meaningful letter to express the qualities that you admire about him and for which you are grateful. Let your dad know how special you feel about being his son or daughter.

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