AMERICAN MOSAIC #822 - Father's Day

By Paul Thompson, Nancy Steinbach


Our VOA listener question comes from China. Zhang Jianjun asks about Father's Day in the United States. That day is celebrated on the third Sunday in the month of June.

A woman named Sonora Louise Smart Dodd got the idea for Father's Day in Nineteen-Oh-Nine. She was living in Spokane, in the state of Washington.

Missus Dodd was listening to a religious message about Mother's Day.She decided that fathers should be recognized too. She especially wanted to honor her own father, William Jackson Smart. He had raised six children by himself after his wife died.

Missus Dodd asked for help from Spokane's religious leaders. She asked them to honor fathers on the first Sunday in June, her own father's birthday. But they did not give speeches honoring fathers until two weeks later, the third Sunday in June.

Sonora Dodd's campaign was successful. The first Father's Day in the United States was celebrated in Spokane, Washington on June nineteenth, Nineteen-Ten. The idea of a day to honor fathers quickly spread to other parts of the country.

In Nineteen-Twenty-Four, President Calvin Coolidge said Americans should honor their fathers on the third Sunday in June. He said the day should be used to establish better relations between fathers and their children and to remind fathers of their responsibilities. As the years passed, efforts were made to make the day an official national holiday. In Nineteen-Seventy-Two, President Richard Nixon signed a law making Father's Day an official observance.

This Sunday, American families will celebrate Father's Day. Many will gather for a special dinner or an outdoor picnic. Families may do special things for Father on his day. They may prepare the foods he likes best, play his favorite games or attend a special show.And most children will give their fathers cards and gifts.

Voice of America Special English