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The Fight for Father’s Day

The Fight for Father’s Day

The Fight for Father's Day

June 2023
Steve Russo

On Mother’s Day 1909 while attending church in Spokane, Washington; Mrs. John Dodd wondered why there was no day set aside to honor fathers.

Her thoughts were prompted by memories of her own father, William Smart. His wife had died young, and he was left to raise six small children. Mrs. Dodd realized that there were lots of other men just like her dad.

After church, she shared her thoughts with the pastor. With his help, she drafted a letter to the Spokane Ministerial Association, explaining the idea for a Father’s Day. They liked the concept, but gave it to the YMCA, thinking they were a better organization to get it started. One year later, Spokane became the first city in the United States to observe Father’s Day.

Mrs. Dodd wanted June 5th – her father’s birthday – as the official date. Because this was too close to Mother’s day, it was pushed back two weeks. Mrs. Dodd suggested that people wear a rose to show respect for their fathers – red for living dads and white for those who’d died.

In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson inaugurated the celebration of Father’s Day. But the fight to gain official national recognition hadn’t been won. Eventually, in 1957, Senator Margaret Chase Smith accused Congress of discriminating against fathers. “Either we honor both parents,” she said, “or neither.” In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a Congressional Resolution, putting Father’s Day on equal footing with Mother’s Day. At long last, Mrs. Dodd finally achieved her ‘special day.’

Today Father’s Day has been imported to many countries around the world. Although the designated day might be different, the concept of celebrating Dads is still the same.

It’s crazy how long it took to get a human resolution passed to honor fathers when it’s been part of God’s plan for centuries. In Ephesians 6:2 Paul writes we are to “Honor our father and mother. This is first.” If we do, we’ll experience a long, full life.

Make a special effort this month to honor your Dad with lots of love and respect. If you’ve lost your Dad, why not do something to honor his memory.

Brainwave. Something to Think About.

Steve Russo is an internationally-known communicator, best-selling author, professional drummer and host of the internationally syndicated daily radio feature Real Answers. He’s also the host of Utalk – an innovative radio/podcast and TV show for teens and young adults. He’s been a featured speaker for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and co-hosted “Life on the Edge Live!” Focus on the Family’s teen talk radio show.  For more information about any of the media as well as Real Answers outreach events and resources: write to P.O. Box 1549, Ontario, California 91762; call 909-466-7060 or e-mail:  Web site:

Copyright 2023 Steve Russo

Brainwave. Something to Think About.