Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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June 19th
Father’s Day
Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, came up with the idea of a day to honor fathers in 1909. Her own father, William Smart, was a Civil War veteran whose wife had died in  childbirth. Dodd thought about the difficulties her father had faced as he struggled to raise his six motherless children on a farm in eastern Washington, and she set her mind to honoring all  fathers. She approached local churches, and on Sunday, June 19, 1910, Spokane ministers celebrated the first Father’s Day by reminding their congregations of the appreciation fathers deserve and the duties fathers owe to their families.

In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson took part in a Father’s Day celebration by pressing a button in the White House that unfurled a flag in Spokane. In 1924 Calvin Coolidge recommended the  widespread observance of the holiday to honor dads and “impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.”

The idea of a national Father’s Day was slow to catch on, but communities and states gradually joined the observance. During the Depression, in an effort to boost sales, retailers began encouraging the holiday with “Give Dad Something to Wear” campaigns.

In 1972 President Richard Nixon signed a law officially recognizing the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Each year, the president issues a proclamation urging Americans to remember all that their fathers have given to family and country.

American History Parade
1754
The first colonial congress, the Albany Conference, meets in Albany, New York, to discuss better relations with the Iroquois.

1778
George Washington’s army leaves its encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

1846
The first recorded baseball game between two organized teams takes place in Hoboken, New Jersey (New York Knickerbockers beat the New York Nine, 23–1).

1862
Slavery is outlawed in the U.S. territories.

1905
The world’s first Nickelodeon opens in Pittsburgh.

1910
Father’s Day is celebrated for the first time in Spokane, Washington.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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