Happy Father’s Day!

June 18, 2015

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Did you know Father’s Day was inspired by the declaration of making Mother’s Day a nationwide holiday in the United States? According to History.com, Mother’s Day originated in the peace-and-reconciliation campaigns of the Civil War Era. However, it did not become a commercial holiday until 1908, when a department store in Philadelphia sponsored a service dedicated to mothers in its auditorium, thanks to an inspired daughter of a Civil War activist who was dedicated to bringing together mothers of confederate and union soldiers. This retail sponsorship caught on and within a decade, almost every state observed the day and the President deemed it a holiday in May for the ‘tender, gentle army, the mothers of America.”
From these efforts to celebrate mothers came a campaign to celebrate the nation’s father’s. Though not met with the same enthusiasm, a West Virginia Church in 1908 sponsored the nation’s first event solely in honoring fathers, a memoir and time of reflection of the men who died in the previous year’s mine explosions. Then in 1910, a driven young woman from Washington State got churches, organizations and government officials to support her idea of Father’s Day and was successful. The holiday slowly spread soon after. President Wilson approved her idea in 1916 and following, President Coolidge as well supported this idea for a national holiday in 1924 to “establish more intimate relations between father and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.”
Yet, in the 1920s and 30s, a movement arose to combine the two holidays into a single holiday, Parent’s Day. The Depression derailed this effort to combine and de-commercialize the holidays, and retailers and advertisers alike redoubled their sales efforts to make Father’s Day a sort-of “second Christmas” for men. This meant promoting goods such as neckties, hats, socks, pipes, golf clubs, sporting goods and greeting cards. But, when World War II Began, advertisers began to argue that rather than Father’s Day being a federal holiday, it should be a national institution, a way to honor American troops and support the war effort.
Finally, in 1972, after a long and drawn out presidential re-election, Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday at last. Let’s join with the world to take this opportunity on Father’s Day to thank the fathers, grandfathers, uncles, stepfathers in each of our lives and pay tribute to them.

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