Monday, June 1, 2020

The Origin of Father's Day

By David Bragg

    In 1911 Anna Jarvis achieved her dream of a national day honoring Mothers. But decades would pass before fathers would be so honored. The state of Washington was the first to have a Father’s Day, thanks to Sonora Dodd whose own father, Civil War veteran and widower William Jackson Smart, reared six children as a single-parent ( While Dodd pushed for June 5, 1910, her father's birthday, she was content when Gov. M. E. Hay designated July 19, 1910 as the first Father's Day (
    This spawned national efforts to establish a Father's Day with advocates like William Jennings Bryan and presidents Wilson, Coolidge and Lyndon Johnson. However, an all-male Congress was hesitant, fearing that if they passed such a resolution it would appear to be self-serving. So Father's Day had no official, national observations until 1971 when President Richard Nixon appointed the third Sunday of each June as Father's Day. On that day, at the age of 90, Sonora Smart Dodd along with the entire nation observed the very first national day honoring dads.
    While having annual days to honor mothers and fathers is nice, it is of far greater importance for children to honor their parents on a daily basis (Exo. 20:12; Eph. 6:2). And it was on the shoulders of parents that God would place the even greater obligation to live lives worthy of honor before their children. Godly parents will daily teach their children by word and example to love and obey God.

- David Bragg serves as one of the ministers at the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC and is co-editor of BulletinGold. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: or his blog:

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