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Father's Day - June 15, 2014
Father's Day is meant to be in the plural because it encompasses all fathers, however it is seldom written in the plural possessive form. This may be recognized as a way to make it more personal for the individual.
Almost every civilized country has a celebration for Father's Day, although there is no international date for the observance. In the United States, the first time fathers were honored on a particular date was on July 5, 1908. The location was Fairmont, West Virginia. The day was primarily the result of the efforts of Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton.
A mining disaster in Monongah, West Virginia on December 6, 1907 took the lives of 210 fathers in the community. A total of 362 people died in the disaster, which was considered the worst mining disaster in American history. The Monongah community was comprised of many smaller settled areas, and most of the residents were connected to the mine in some way.
Mrs. Clayton had the memorial for the fathers lost in the mine in Fairmont because it was only about five miles from where the disaster took place. A church was organized called The First Father's Day Church, and it is still in Fairmont today under the name the Central United Methodist Church.
Because West Virginia did not register the commemorative date officially, many people were not aware that Father's Day was first celebrated there. Instead, the date most often contributed to the beginning of the celebration was almost two years later on June 19, 1910. Another woman, Sonora Smart Dodd, was responsible for establishing the observance as it exists today.
William Jackson Smart was Sonora's father, and when her mother died in childbirth with her sixth child, teenager Sonora and her father raised the family. Years later, while listening to the minister discuss the new Mother's Day observance, Sonora felt it only fitting that fathers like her own had a day designated for them to be remembered.
Mrs. Dodd approached the ministry of the Presbyterian Church and the Spokane YMCA with her idea. Her father's birthday of June 5 was the day Mrs. Dodd asked for the observance to be held, but preparations moved the date to June 19, and members of the YMCA went to church on that day wearing a single rose to honor their fathers. A red rose was for a living father and a white rose was for those deceased.
Father's Day 2011 will be held on June 19 the same as it was on its first official occurrence, but it wasn't an easy memorial to sell when Mrs. Dodd pressed for it. In fact, it almost disappeared before it could achieve the necessary attention to go nationwide.
President Woodrow Wilson came to Spokane in 1916 to speak on Father's Day, and President Lyndon Johnson made the proclamation in 1966 to officially establish the third Sunday in June as Father's Day.
As a footnote to Father's Day, it is a tribute to two women who wanted to honor fathers, even before women were allowed to vote by those fathers.
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