One hundred years ago, on June 19, 1910, religious leaders in Spokane, Washington designated the first Father’s Day at the suggestion of 16 year old Sonora Smart Dodd, the “Mother of Father’s Day”. For more history, see the release issued by the Spokane Regional Convention & Visitor Bureau. This year, continuing the tradition of Presidential Proclamations begun by Lyndon Johnson in 1966, the White House issued a Presidential Proclamation for Father’s Day 2010. Father’s Day officially became an American holiday on April 24, 1972, to be celebrated the third Sunday in June, after passage of the Father’s Day Act, Public Law 92-278 . The law was codified at 36 U.S.C. §109.
USA.gov has some interesting facts about fathers. For example, the US Census Bureau estimates that there are 67.8 million fathers across the nation and that 25.8 million of them were part of married-couple families with children younger than 18 in 2009. Of the total number of fathers, 22 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18 (among married-couple family households only) and 3 percent lived in someone else’s home. There were 1.7 million single fathers in 2009 and 15 percent of single parents were men.
As “nontraditional” family structures become more common, Father’s Day is a day to honor any nurturing man – a “big brother,” a brother-in-law, an uncle, a neighbor or perhaps another special man who is “like a father”. To all of them, Happy Father’s Day!