Happy Father’s Day 2017: This is the woman responsible for celebrating dads around the world

Sonora Smart Dodd was bothered that there was not a day to honour her civil war veteran father who raised her and five younger brothers alone.

By: PTI | Washington | Updated: June 18, 2017 11:38 pm
father's day, happy father's day, father's day significance, Sonora Smart Dodd US President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day in 1966. In this 1940s family photo courtesy of Betsy Hillerman Roddy and Barbara Hillerman Lieske shows Sonora Smart Dodd, founder of Father’s Day in Spokane, Wash. Father’s Day, which has since become an international celebration, was created by Dodd to honor, among others, her own father, William Jackson Smart, who raised her and her five siblings after their mother died. Sonora Smart married John Bruce Dodd. (Source: AP)

The whole world is today celebrating the Father’s Day but how many of you know that it was started by an American woman who was raised by a widower. Sonora Smart Dodd was born in Sebastian County in Arkansas in 1982 and her mother died when she was 16. Dodd’s father, William Smart, raised her and five brothers after their mother died.

While listening to a Mother’s Day sermon with her father at the Central Methodist Church in 1909, Dodd was bothered that there was not a day to honour her civil war veteran father who raised her and five younger brothers alone. Dodd wanted the celebration to be held on June 5, her father’s birthday, but planning difficulties pushed the first Father’s Day celebration to Sunday, June 19, 1910, ABC News reported.

In this June 12, 2017, photo, Betsy Roddy of Los Angeles holds a copy of the Aug. 17, 1910, edition of The River Press of Fort Benton, Mont. The newspaper was one of the first to report on Father’s Day, an event held for the first time in June of that year in Spokane, Wash., after Roddy’s great-grandmother, Sonora Smart Dodd, lobbied local church and public officials for its creation. In the years that followed, Father’s Day grew to become an international event and Dodd lived to see President Richard Nixon declare it an official U.S. holiday in 1972. (Source: AP)

As Dodd’s idea gained momentum across the country, two National Father’s Day committees were formed, one in Virginia in 1921 and one in New York City in 1936. President Woodrow Wilson sanctioned the idea of celebrating Father’s Day in 1913 and visited Spokane to join the celebration in 1916. President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea in 1924, as well.

In 1957, US Senator Margaret Chase Smith from Maine introduced a bill to create a federally proclaimed day writing: “Either we honour both our parents, mother and father, or let us desist from honouring either one. But to single out just one of our two parents and omit the other is the most grievous insult imaginable.”

President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day in 1966. President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of the day in 1972.

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